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City Council Poised To Publicly Debate Nutter's Plan To Sell PGW

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The final week of September is likely to bring the start of City Council's long-awaiting public hearings on Mayor Nutter's plan to sell PGW.

City Council's google calendar has blocked off three days at the end of September and five days at the beginning of October for the Committee of the Whole.  And while the topic isn't yet specified, it is expected that those will be the dates of Council's long-awaited public hearings on the proposed sale of PGW.

Councilman Bill Greenlee, the Democratic majority whip, is glad that this debate was delayed from the spring, when council was tackling the budget:

"Personally I think we've handled this the proper way.  I think this is an extremely important matter.  I don't think it was proper to do it during the budget time (last spring) where it was a contentious budget for a number of reasons."

Before any hearings, though, Council President Darrell Clarke plans to release two reports written by the consultants hired by Council to parse over the deal.

One report will look at the deal itself, the other studies the broader question of the best use of PGW.  The release of both reports could come as early as this coming week.  Neither report is expected to include a yea-or-nay opinion on the value of the deal.  Greenlee eagerly awaits the findings:

"We needed our own independent look at this thing.  And I think that's what the report will do.  And I think that's a fair way to do it.  This is a major, major, thing.  We needed to do our due diligence, and that's what we're doing."

Nutter wants to sell PGW to the Connecticut-based firm UIL for just under $2 billion.  He says about one-quarter of the proceeds will go to shore up the struggling city workers' pension fund.

Opponents say allowing the utility to go private would expose residents to undue rate hikes.

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