Philadelphia, Dec. 4, 2014 – City Council President Darrell L. Clarke on Thursday issued the following statement on UIL Holdings Corporation’s decision to terminate an agreement with Mayor Nutter’s Administration to purchase the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW):
“This year, the City Council of Philadelphia has learned a great deal about opportunities to enhance PGW’s operations and to establish our City as the center of a regional energy hub. It is unfortunate that Mayor Nutter chose to pursue an extremely narrow deal to privatize PGW that ignores opportunities to increase Philadelphia’s economic output. This deal would have resulted in significant job loss among Philadelphians by allowing UIL to lay off employees and to shift jobs away from experienced PGW workers, who are bound by residency requirements to live in our City, to less experienced workers from anywhere outside of Philly.
“Make no mistake, the failure of this deal is not the fault of UIL Holdings. The lack of sufficient jobs, consumer and safety protections in this deal are a direct result of the Nutter Administration’s Request for Proposals, which was limited in scope and issued with no input from City Council. Such a shortsighted deal that did not address the concerns of the approving authority, in this case City Council, never had a chance of winning our endorsement. It is a shame that the Administration did not make this clear to UIL earlier in the process. This company and its shareholders could have been spared a significant amount of time, money and resources.
“I would like to thank UIL President and CEO James P. Torgeson and his team for their willingness to meet with City Council after this deal was made and to answer our many questions. In the end, with no ability for Council to amend a contract to which it was not a party, we could not move forward on this agreement. The City of Philadelphia will continue to explore options to enhance PGW’s operations, and I welcome opportunities to work with UIL in the future.
“The debate over PGW is one we should have as a City with all stakeholders at the table. The termination of this one particular sale agreement is not the end of this debate, which thanks to the legislative branch is now fully public as it should have been all along. Once again, the Nutter Administration has learned that the birthplace of American democracy has little tolerance for sweeping policy decisions made unilaterally with no input from the public. It is my sincere hope that our City will move forward on maximizing energy industry opportunities in a much more collaborative, inclusive and thoughtful way.”
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