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City Council Holds PGW Hearing, Lawmakers Refuse To Vote On Nutter's Plan To Sell

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Now that City Council has rejected the sale of PGW without a hearing, much to Mayor Nutter's chagrin, the lawmakers today are holding a broader hearing on the future of that utility.

This afternoon brings the start of a two-day hearing in which council members will examine what they call the "highest and best use" of the city-owned utility.

"What council is going to do in the next two days is look to the future," says Councilman Bill Greenlee, the majority whip. "The future of energy and the future of PGW in Philadelphia."

The hearing, though, comes as the Nutter Administration continues to try to resurrect the PGW sale with some private lobbying.  Councilman Mark Squilla says aides to the mayor are trying, but he doubts they'll get anywhere:

"They reached out to multiple council members, including myself.  But I don't think anything is going to happen until after the current hearings that we're having.  After those hearings, what happens at that point I'm not sure."

And Greenlee says today's hearing is the result of City Council facing reality:

"The reality is that there's not the support for the sale under the bill that was presented (by the Administration), and that we're moving forward.  Talking about something that we're not going to do doesn't seem to make sense.  What seems to make sense is to talk about something that we can do."

Meantime, the state Public Utility Commissioner will weigh in tomorrow with its own hearing -- scheduled after Council announced it would not vote on the proposed sale.

Earlier this week, UIL Holdings, the firm that was chosen by Nutter to buy PGW, announced that it is not yet pulling out -- despite Council's refusal so far to schedule a hearing and vote on the sale agreement.

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