Council Might (or Might Not) Proceed With PGW Hearings

Council President Clarke evasive on the matter.

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

City Council might finally begin the process of formally dealing with the proposed sale of Philadelphia Gas Works to a private company today.

Or it might not.

KYW reports that Council President Darrel Clarke says a bill formally bringing the sale before the council won’t be introduced today, but there might be a resolution calling for hearings on the matter. Or not: Pressed on the timing, Clarke responded, “I’m not going to answer that at this time.”

Clarke has said formal legislation would trigger a 60-day window to submit the sale to the Public Utility Commission; he wants to delay that trigger to give Council time to review the sale.

Sources indicate that a resolution rather than an ordinance would allow hearings on the sale to go forward without starting that clock. Clarke had originally promised an update on how council will answer this by mid-October, but that obviously didn’t happen:

“We’re always allowed a little slippage in government. People tend to say that government is a little slow, but government has the responsibility of making good decisions, because we’re dealing with the taxpayers’ money.”

Under the proposal, PGW would be sold to Connecticut-based UIL Holdings for nearly $2 billion. Roughly a quarter of the proceeds would be used to shore up the pensions of municipal workers. The plan has drawn opposition from much (but not all) of the company’s unionized workforce.