Philadelphia, December 4, 2014– Mayor Michael A. Nutter released a statement following a vote by the Board of Directors of UIL Holdings Corporation to terminate its agreement to purchase the Philadelphia Gas Works:
“This decision by the Philadelphia City Council is a big mistake and represents a massive failure in leadership for our City and our citizens. It is unfortunate for Philadelphia that City Council could not make a public decision in this important matter following public hearings and an up or down vote. Instead, City Council held no hearings and chose a behind-the-scenes decision making process and no action, thus shutting out the public and denying Philadelphians the opportunity to voice their views.
“The citizens of our City, the customers of PGW and our own City workers will feel the negative effects of this terrible indecision for years to come, and ultimately will regret that City Council chose to end a legitimate debate on this issue even before it started.
“The eyes of the city, state and our country, if not the world, are on Philadelphia and looking at how we conduct business, how we treat good companies like UIL and how we handle big decisions.
“The roles and responsibilities of each branch of our government, in a transaction such as this, are clearly set forth in the Home Rule Charter, and unfortunately, in this instance, City Council failed to represent our own vested employees, all of its constituents, and the larger City interests.
“Rather, it allowed small-minded, parochial and often petty issues and interests to get in the way of larger, broader and more innovative opportunities to move forward on behalf of all of our citizens who deserved the chance to see, hear and learn more about an incredible proposal to transform PGW into a true national, if not international, leader in providing energy services.
“I want to thank Mr. Jim Torgerson and his entire team from UIL for their interest, commitment and patience in their efforts to own and operate PGW. I want to thank the many City employees who worked very hard on this proposed transaction, and our many great consultants who provided excellent advice and guidance in this process. They all deserve our thanks and appreciation.
“I look forward to learning more about the often mentioned public-private proposals from Council President Clarke and the Council, how they plan to move PGW forward financially, how they plan to accelerate desperately needed cast-iron pipe replacements, what their plan is to make additional investments in our LNG facilities, how they will take advantage of the nearby Marcellus Shale reserves and how they will make significant investments in our severely underfunded pension system on behalf of our deserving City public employees.
“PGW still needs support and investment, and now that City Council has made its decision to do nothing, it is imperative and vitally urgent that Council President Clarke release his public-private partnership plan in full detail so that the citizen taxpayers and ratepayers can understand his plan for PGW and its future. I look forward to reading that plan soon.”