UIL Says It’s Not Done Pursuing PGW

Despite Council rejection, company won't terminate its right to purchase.

At this point, UIL Holdings — the Connecticut company that wants so badly to buy and privatize Philadelphia Gas Works — resembles the old guy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Yes, he’s in bad health. Yes, the future is dim. But he’s hanging on. “I’M NOT DEAD YET!” he screams.

Despite City Council’s unequivocal rejection of the sale, the company said late Monday afternoon it’s not ready to terminate its purchase agreement. According to a press release:

Since July 16, 2014, UIL has had the contractual right to terminate the agreement because the Philadelphia City Council had not enacted an ordinance approving the acquisition. On October 27, 2014, the City Council announced that it had informed the Mayor that the City Council would not endorse the sale of PGW to UIL.

“On October 28, 2014, we expressed our disappointment in the City Council’s announcement that it would not endorse the sale, and stated that we would determine whether to exercise our contractual right to terminate the agreement and make a determination on future action within two weeks,” said James P. Torgerson, UIL’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The transaction made strategic sense for UIL when we announced the agreement in March of this year, and continues to make strategic sense today. Accordingly, with time remaining for the City Council to consider the transaction at its upcoming meetings, we believe that it would be premature to exercise our right to terminate at this time,” added Torgerson.

Of course, the lifetime of that continued pursuit has a time limit: If the year’s end comes without Council approving the sale, the purchase agreement will automatically expire.

The statement comes amid a renewed effort by Mayor Nutter to convince both the Council and the public of the merits of the sale, though Council seems to retain its skepticism. There’s no sign Council is budging, but everybody might as well settle in: This fight is going be with us through Christmastime, at least.

Related: Mayor: Council Is Fibbing! Council: Nuh-Uh!