Phila. Gas Works: Will Take 45 Years to Upgrade Unsafe Pipelines

tortoiseNatural gas customers in Philadelphia could have had all of the outdated and unsafe pipes belonging to the aging Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) pipeline network replaced within 5-10 years, paid for by UIL Holdings Corporation, a Connecticut-based gas and electric utility holding company that offered to buy PGW in a deal brokered by Democrat Mayor Michael Nutter. But the corrupt Philadelphia City Council torpedoed the deal (see Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal). Now PGW ratepayers are going to see an increase–instead of a decrease–in their utility rates in order to “speed up” the pace of replacing unsafe natural gas pipes throughout the city. What does “speed up” mean for a government-owned utility?…
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UIL Invests $80M in Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline

UIL Holdings, a Connecticut-based utility with 725,000 electric and natural gas customers in two states, is investing $80 million in Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) natural gas pipeline project that will stretch from NY to near Boston, MA to bring cheap, abundant and clean-burning natural gas to New England. One of UIL’s subsidiary companies is Berkshire Gas Company, one of NED’s anchor shippers. Berkshire, you may recall, is at capacity now with respect to natural gas supplies they receive from Kinder’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline. Berkshire has put a moratorium on accepting any new hookups for natural gas in Franklin County, MA (see Guts: No New Pipeline in MA? Then No New Natgas for Utility Customers). You may also recall that UIL is the company that offered the City of Philadelphia the best deal it will ever get to sell the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works utility, a deal ultimately scuttled by the Democrat-controlled–and profoundly corrupt–Philadelphia City Council (see Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal). UIL will get a 2.5% ownership stake in NED in return for it’s $80M investment…
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UIL CEO “Disappointed” by Phila. Gas Works Deal Abortion

We’re left with one, very strong recommendation, after the abortion of the deal to sell Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) to UIL Holding, a Connecticut utility company: Philadelphia City Council members need to be investigated to see whose pockets have gotten fatter since the deal was aborted. The head of UIL has spoken on the record about the deal for the first time. In an interview last Friday, UIL CEO James Torgerson said he had met privately “multiple times” with all but two (of 17) Philly City Council members and by his count 9 of them would have voted “yes” on a deal to sell PGW to UIL. The only conclusion we can reach is that money has changed hands to stop the deal from going forward. What other conclusion can a sane, rational, thinking person reach? It’s time for an investigation–in particular of Councilwoman Marian Tasco, who refused to meet and talk with UIL even once. Tasco chairs the Philadelphia Gas Commission. Too bad Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, refuses to investigate people from her own party. We say it’s time for a special prosecutor to be appointed…
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UIL Makes it Official: $1.86B Deal to Buy Phila. Gas Works is Dead

pulled the plugSensing that the corrupt Philadelphia City Council will not budget–will not even talk to UIL Holdings about their proposed $1.86 BILLION offer to purchase the municipal-owned Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)–the company has pulled the plug on the deal. It’s now officially 100% dead. Even though UIL has assured and reassured anyone who would listen that they won’t come in and fire the union workers, and that they would accelerate an already-ambitious schedule of upgrading PGW’s failing pipeline infrastructure, City Council members are stuck in the pockets of powerful unions and shadowy others in the background who opposed the deal. UIL has been more than patient. Philly’s dream of being an “energy hub” in the northeast is also dead along with the deal…
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PGW Sale Still on Life Support – Will City Council Pull the Plug?

The corrupt Philadelphia City Council continues to be, well, corrupt. Although UIL Holdings, the Connecticut utility company doing its darnedest to purchase the municipal owned Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), has told City Council that they are willing to amend the terms of sale originally worked out by Philly’s Mayor Michael Nutter–to address Council’s so-called “concerns.” UIL is bending over backwards, forwards, sideways–any way it can to make the deal happen. And the response from the corrupt City Council? Crickets. The deal expires Dec. 31 and it looks, as of right now, as if it’s dead…
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PDN: City Council Ruined the Promise of Energy Hub in Philly

Can Philadelphia ever be THE energy of hub of the northeast? According to an editorial in the Philadelphia Daily News, City Council has ruined that possibility by scuttling the deal to sell Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) to UIL Holdings (see Phila. City Council’s 6-Hour Hearing on PGW Sale, UIL Appearance). According to the editorial writers, City Council is focusing on retaining 1,600 (and shrinking) public sector union jobs at PGW instead of allowing the sale of PGW which potentially could lead to Philly becoming THE northeast energy hub employing 10 times that number of energy jobs…
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Phila. City Council’s 6-Hour Hearing on PGW Sale, UIL Appearance

More on the drama of the corrupt Philadelphia City Council’s scuttling of the sale of the municipal-owned Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) to Connecticut utility UIL Holdings. Yesterday City Council held hearings on alternatives to selling PGW and made a representative from UIL wait until the very end of six hours of hearings to give him 10 minutes to speak…
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LNG Facility the Crown Jewel in Scuttled PGW Sale

We find it interesting now that the corrupt Philadelphia City Council has torpedoed the deal to sell the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) to Connecticut utility company UIL Holding, the talk by council members has returned to the shiniest jewel in the PGW crown: their small LNG facility. You may recall that MDN previously warned of an ex-Enron employee, Boris Brevnov, who wanted to tank the sale to UIL so he could gain control of the LNG facility for himself (see Former Enron Exec Makes “Unethical” Play to Derail PGW Deal). With the deal now hosed, is Brevnov working in the background to get the LNG facility? We have no proof of that, but the thought has crossed our mind. The Philadelphia Inquirer has an article delving into the LNG facility and what may happen next in the ongoing saga of the PGW sale…
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Phila. Energy Solutions Tells Mayor & City Council: Start Talking

Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) is the joint venture between The Carlyle Group and Sunoco (now part of Energy Transfer Partners) that owns and operates the Point Breeze and Girard Point oil refineries in Philadelphia–the largest such refining complex on the Eastern Seaboard. PES CEO, Philip Rinaldi, has weighed in on the corrupt Philadelphia City Council’s scuttling of the purchase of Philadelphia Gas Works (see Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal). We suppose it’s understandable, but Rinaldi says precisely nothing in his comments beyond Mayor Michael Nutter is a great guy, but so too is City Council President Darrell Clarke, head of the cabal that scuttled the deal. As head of the Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team which is attempting to position Philly has an “energy hub,” Rinaldi’s comments are of the tone “Why Can’t We Be Friends” (cue music). He hopes that Nutter and Clarke can start talking to one another again to get this deal done…
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Mayor Nutter, State PUC Attempt CPR on Dead PGW Deal

The corrupt Philadelphia City Council killed the sale of the municipally-owned Philadelphia Gas Works earlier this week (see Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal). PGW is bleeding money and rates for residents are sky high, in no small part because they still buy their gas from the Gulf Coast instead of getting it from the nearby (and super cheap) Marcellus region in their own state! What’s next in the process? Philly’s Democrat Mayor, Michael Nutter, along with the state Public Utility Commission (PUC), haven’t quite given up on the deal–not yet. They’re bringing enormous pressure on council members to at least take a vote, something Council President Darrell Clarke has been unwilling to do. The PUC had been waiting to conduct hearings on PGW because of the impending sale. With the sale off, the PUC is turning up the heat and will hold hearings in the next two weeks to demand answers from PGW (and Council) on how they’ll fix the mess they’ve created…
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Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal

corruptionThere’s a reason Philadelphia has the reputation of being one of the most corrupt cities in America–because it is. We have proof. Back in March of this year, after a long, hard process, the Democrat Mayor of Philly, Michael Nutter, announced a deal to sell the municipally-owned (and bleeding money) Philadelphia Gas Works to UIL Holdings Corporation, a Connecticut-based investor-owned gas and electric utility holding company (see Phila. Gas Works Deal for $1.86B – Marcellus/Utica One of Keys). The deal would have injected $424 million into the city’s failing pension fund. It was a win/win all the way around. What did the corrupt City Council do? Diddle around, giving special interests time to mount opposition (see Philly City Council Continues to Diddle Around on PGW Sale). Yesterday the corrupt City Council announced they were killing the deal Nutter, one of their own, worked so hard to negotiate…
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Philly City Council Continues to Diddle Around on PGW Sale

The (lazy) Philadelphia City Council went on summer recess before doing the city’s business of evaluating the $1.86 billion deal to sell the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works to UIL Holdings Corporation, a Connecticut-based investor-owned gas and electric utility (see Phila. Gas Works Deal in Jeopardy Due to Vacationing City Council). They’re excuse for heading to the Jersey shore before doing their jobs? They need more “studies”. Their lackadaisical handling of the deal means UIL could, as of yesterday, walked away from the deal. Fortunately for Philadelphians, UIL has decided to stick around–for now…
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Phila. Gas Works Deal in Jeopardy Due to Vacationing City Council

In March, the Democrat mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, announced a deal to sell the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) for $1.86 billion (see Phila. Gas Works Deal for $1.86B – Marcellus/Utica One of Keys). UIL Holdings Corporation, a Connecticut-based investor-owned gas and electric utility, is the potential buyer. However, it didn’t take long for the union and a former Enron executive to make a play to screw the deal (see Former Enron Exec Makes “Unethical” Play to Derail PGW Deal). City Council has had three months to review the deal put together by Nutter, but now they’re heading out of town on summer vacation and not coming back until September. Will UIL stick around that long?…
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Former Enron Exec Makes “Unethical” Play to Derail PGW Deal

In March MDN told you about the deal negotiated by Philadelphia’s Democrat mayor, Michael Nutter, to sell off (i.e. privatize) the country’s oldest and largest municipal-owned gas company–the Philadelphia Gas Works (see Phila. Gas Works Deal for $1.86B – Marcellus/Utica One of Keys). To his credit, Nutter negotiated a good deal for the city, its residents, and the ratepayers of PGW. One of the main draws for the deal is its proximity to the Marcellus Shale (see Fascinating Look Behind the Curtain of the Phila. Gas Works Deal). However, resistance to the sale was swift and strong–by city council and their entrenched political interests in keeping labor unions happy. Now comes word that a Russian-born former Enron executive is working behind the scenes trying to derail the deal…
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Fascinating Look Behind the Curtain of the Phila. Gas Works Deal

Last week MDN told you about the potential sale of the country’s largest municipal-owned natural gas utility–the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)–to Connecticut utility company UIL (see Phila. Gas Works Deal for $1.86B – Marcellus/Utica One of Keys). The law firm that structured and brokered the deal says that while the legal aspects were complicated, the legal aspects were the “easy” part. The hard part? The coming political buzz saw from selling the city-owned asset (an asset that’s been losing money for forever under city ownership). Labor unions are actively opposing the sale, afraid it will mean layoffs.

Why buy a money loser? According to the lawyer in charge of the deal, Gregory L. Seltzer, UIL wanted to buy PGW for three reasons…
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Phila. Gas Works Deal for $1.86B – Marcellus/Utica One of Keys

With an eye on its proximity to abundant and cheap natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale, UIL Holdings Corporation, a Connecticut-based investor-owned gas and electric utility holding company, yesterday announced that it has reached an agreement to to buy Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), currently owned by the City of Philadelphia, for $1.86 billion in cash. PGW is the nation’s largest municipally-owned natural gas utility. Last summer MDN told you that PGW was up for sale and that the Marcellus may well be the key to a sale (see Phila. Gas Works Goes on Auction Block – Marcellus Key in Sale?). Looks like our words ended up being prophetic, because UIL says the Marcellus/Utica is part of the reason why they want to buy PGW.

There had been talk that one PGW’s facilities could be turned into an LNG export terminal, but that idea seemed to be shot down later and hasn’t been mentioned since (see Consultant: Retooling PGW LNG Terminal for Exports Problematic). Still, this is a great day for PGW and its future. But the sale won’t happen without a fight. Even though UIL says they will honor labor union contracts already in place, the unions are staking out a position against the sale and intend to exert influence on Philadelphia City Council members who must approve such a sale. Here’s the announcement from UIL, and an update from the Philly Inquirer about opposition to the sale…
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