PGW Buyer: We’ll Raise Rates in 2018

Of course, rates are likely going up in 2018 no matter who owns the utility.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

As the city plans to sell the Philadelphia Gas Works to help fund a huge gap in the city’s pension fund, the buyer has noted that — once the rate freeze expires — it will raise rates.

The Inquirer‘s Andrew Maykuth notes today UIL Holdings’ plan has some concerned:

“We do need to implement some higher rates at some point, and that would be in the 2018 time frame,” James P. Torgerson, UIL Holdings’ chief executive, told analysts March 3, the day his company announced the purchase agreement. […]

“The first thing on the agenda with this employer is trying to cut health care, trying to cut pensions, and trying to cut jobs,” said James F. Runckel, the attorney for the 1,140-member gas workers’ union.

In some ways it’s bad news either way: Maykuth notes that PGW says it needs to raise rates by $50 million — combined, not each customer — in 2018 if it remains owned by the city. UIL says it won’t lay off workers for the first three years it owns PGW, and won’t let PGW’s work force fall below 1,350 during that time. (Currently, PGW’s workforce stands at 1,650.)

[Philadelphia Inquirer]