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Firm Not Giving Up On Bid For PGW Just Yet

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The company chosen by Mayor Michael Nutter to purchase the Philadelphia Gas Works has decided not to pull out of the deal just yet, despite the fact that City Council refuses to hold hearings or vote on the proposal.

Two weeks after City Council President Darrell Clarke announced that council will not vote on the proposed sale of PGW, the firm UIL Holdings of Connecticut has announced that they're not pulling out -- at least not yet.

UIL has had since July the right to terminate the sale agreement. In a statement released late Monday, UIL president James Torgerson said it would be "premature" to terminate the deal given that Council still has time to consider the offer.

City Council will hold a hearing on the larger question of PGW's future later this week, but the UIL's specific offer of $1.8 billion for PGW will not be put to a vote.

Since Clarke's announcement, the Nutter Administration has been actively trying to resurrect the deal by convincing other council members of its merits. This resulted in the past week with papers being issued by both the Administration and Clarke's office dispute key points of the deal -- including whether Council had an active role in the process before UIL was chosen.

Clarke says he nixed hearings because there is "no appetite" among the lawmakers for the idea. Nutter contends that a sale would make financial sense for the city, since about one-quarter of the proceeds would be used to shore up the underfunded pension fund of thousands of city workers.

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