City Council Spending $20K on Ads Defending Delay on PGW Sale

City Council defended the ads, saying they're necessary to combat Mayor Nutter's messaging on the proposed sale of PGW to UIL Holdings.

In February, Mayor Michael Nutter announced the sale of PGW for $1.86 billion. But City Council has questions, and didn’t review the sale before the summer recess. That delay matters: Since Council hasn’t taken any action yet, UIL Holdings can back out of the proposed sale after July 15.

Now, of course, the latest twist: City Council is spending $20,000 on radio ads defending the delay. Wait, what?

The Inquirer details the ad’s contents:

“Given the complexity and importance of the proposed transaction, City Council would be irresponsible if we did not do our due diligence,” Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco says in the one-minute ads, which are running on KYW and WURD.

“We will not cut corners and rush to make a judgment that will have an impact on every ratepayer in this city,” says Tasco, the chairwoman of the Philadelphia Gas Commission.

Tasco, an opponent of the sale, doesn’t take an position in the one-minute radio spots. (Not even 30 seconds? Who can pay attention to politics for a full minute?) The Committee of 70 tells the Inky the ads are a waste of taxpayer money. City Council president Darrell Clarke approved the ads; spokeswoman Jane Roh says he OKed them to counter the administration’s messaging on the PGW sale.

City Council hired Concentric Energy Advisors in March for $425,000 to do a review of the PGW sale. The job was supposed to take two months but has yet to be completed. Roh says $1.9 million of PGW money has been spent on the proposed sale so far. So much government money being spent all over!