Connecticut Firm Continues Bid For Philly Utility - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Connecticut Firm Continues Bid For Philly Utility

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PHILADELPHIA -

A Connecticut firm said Wednesday that it will continue its efforts to buy Philadelphia's struggling gas utility despite the passage of a deadline that allows the company to withdraw.

Officials at the company, UIL Holdings Corp., "have decided to continue our efforts to pursue this acquisition and become a new business partner in the city of Philadelphia," James Torgerson, president and CEO of New Haven, Connecticut-based UIL, said in a statement.

He added that the company believes the sale "is a valuable economic opportunity for the city of Philadelphia."

Mayor Michael Nutter said in March that the proposed $1.86 billion sale would inject $424 million into the city's distressed pension fund. He said the deal, which must be approved by the City Council and state regulators, would keep rates frozen for three years, maintain discount programs for low-income families and seniors and safeguard employee and retiree pensions.

The Utility Workers Union of America Local 686, which represents 1,150 PGW workers whose contract expires in 2015, is against a sale, and several environmental organizations have also announced opposition, saying the deal would mean higher gas bills and increased use of natural gas from the vast Marcellus Shale formation, which partly lies under Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Gas Works, which traces its history to 1836, is the nation's largest municipally owned gas utility with more than half a million residential, commercial and industrial customers and more than 1,600 employees.

UIL serves about 706,000 electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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