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Councilwoman Says PGW Bidder Using "Scare Tactics" To Push Sale

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A Philadelphia City Council member who is opposed to the sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works says the company that's trying to buy the utility is now using "scare tactics" in its latest advertisements.

A radio ad sponsored by UIL Holdings, the Connecticut-based firm that wants to buy PGW from the city, claims the city's gas infrastructure is "an accident waiting to happen."

"Right now the city is facing a big decision about the sale of Philadelphia Gas Works," the script begins.  "And the clock is ticking.  Just like the clock is ticking on the dangerously outdated gas system below our city.  And as experts say, an accident waiting to happen.  UIL investing in PGW means it gets fixed fast, and without a big price tag.  Take a stand on the PGW sale decision.  Fix the system below our feet, or cross your fingers."

Councilwoman Marian Tasco -- a vocal opponent of the sale -- is crying foul.

"I think UIL is using scare tactics," she tells KYW Newsradio.  "It's just one issue that is slanted, clouded, and not in good taste.  I believe that the members of City Council are going to look at all of the information relative to the sale and make an intelligent decision about what we should do with PGW.  And this whole scare tactic by UIL is not helping."

Michael West, a spokesman for UIL, denies the accusation.

"I would not at all call (the radio and print ads) scare tactics.  This is a reality message.  And it's not purely about investing in infrastructure, but it's about the things that we feel we can bring to the city as an owner of PGW.  It's something that we feel should be discussed publicly.  And so this is an effort to inform and educate the public," he said.

Mayor Nutter wants to sell PGW to UIL for nearly $2 billion.  The deal requires the approval of both City Council and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

A spokesperson for City Council president Darrell Clarke said Clarke would not comment on the ads.


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