PGW Sale Hopes Dim

Private bidder UIL Holdings says it will let sale agreement expire.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The proposed sale of Philadelphia Gas Works to a private Connecticut company — a sale long considered on life support, at best — is one step closer to outright death.

UIL Holdings said Thursday that it is ending its pursuit of the Philadelphia utility; it will not renew its option to buy when that agreement ends at the end of December. The announcement came after Thursday’s City Council meeting, considered the last chance to jump-start the process to result in a sale by year’s end.

KYW reports:

“We’re now just at a point where the contract expires at the end of the year, and there isn’t a need to extend it beyond that point,” said Michael West, a spokesman for the Connecticut-based utility conglomerate, adding that company officials are disappointed the deal never came to be.

“I think all the reports that have been completed unequivocally acknowledge that we are qualified to be owners, and have met all the requirements to do the job of operating PGW,” he said today. “And clearly there is some disappointment that we haven’t had a chance to present our case.”

The Daily News offers a ray of hope to sale advocates:

Asked if the deal is dead, West said, “If there is some opportunity, we certainly want to make sure that we explore it all, but there is a realization that we have a contract that is about to expire.”

Still, Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald emphasized that Council still could schedule additional hearings on the issue.

“It’s not over,” McDonald said.

Mayor Nutter announced the proposed sale on March 3rd: Under the terms of the sale, the city was to receive $1.86 billion for the utility, and use the profits to shore up the underfunded pension system. But Council never held required hearings, and last month Council President Darrell Clarke announced the sale wouldn’t be considered. UIL and the mayor’s office tried reviving the deal — so far, to no apparent avail.