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Nutter to Council: PUC will not thwart Council review of PGW sale

Nutter issues memo to Council after it fails to introduce his bill on PGW sale.

The Philadelphia Gas Works office in the 1100 block of Chestnut Street, Center City.  (Reid Kanaley / Staff)
The Philadelphia Gas Works office in the 1100 block of Chestnut Street, Center City. (Reid Kanaley / Staff)Read more

A WHOLE LOTTA fuss over nothing - that's what Mayor Nutter is calling reaction to a memo sent by City Council President Darrell Clarke to all Council members Wednesday, which prompted Council to stall a bill advancing the sale of PGW.

Nutter wants to get the ball rolling, but Clarke's memo raised questions about whether the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's review process of the proposed sale of PGW to UIL Holdings Corp. would give Council enough time to have its say.

Nutter said that even a favorable decision from the commission would be meaningless without Council's approval of the sale ordinance.

"Please be assured that introduction of the sale ordinance does not trigger the PUC review process," Nutter wrote.

"I have been advised by the city solicitor that this provision has nothing to do with the start of the PUC review of the proposed sale and is solely a mutually agreed upon time line designed to keep the process moving between the city and UIL."

According to Nutter's memo, language in the asset-purchase agreement states that the parties involved must "prepare and file" joint applications to the commission "no later than 60 days following the introduction of the ordinance in City Council."

Clarke said he wants a careful and deliberate process in finalizing the $1.86 billion deal.

"Based on my interpretation of [that] provision - from my perspective - that is a trigger," he told the Daily News.

"Had I introduced the ordinance at the original request, the clock would have already been ticking. We want to review the information and determine what type of asset sale it's going to be before we file anything with anyone."

The last nine commission transaction reviews took a little more than nine months to process, on average, according to the administration.

- Staff writer Sean Collins Walsh contributed to this report