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PGW Sale Means Higher Gas Bills: Advocacy Group

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    Philadelphians are in for a big hike in their gas bills after the sale of Philadelphia Gas Works to UIL Holdings Corp. for $1.86 billion, an advocacy group is warning.

    Food & Water Watch warns that if gas utility privatization is anything like water privatization, then customers will pay the price with rate increases. Sam Bernhardt, senior Pennsylvania organizer for Food & Water Watch, said that rate increases occur "time and time again" when water utilities go private. (See infographic.)

    In Bensalem, Pa., a typical annual water and/or sewer bill was $137.08 before privatization but climbed to $578.05 after. In Bristol, Pa., the bill jumped from $165.44 to $661.43. After privatization in Media, Pa., water bills climbed from $335.69 to $792.22.

    "We don’t have any reason to believe that in the privatization of a gas utility, we’d see anything different," said Bernhardt, whose group has joined with a coalition of unions, consumer groups, neighborhood associations, and environmental groups to urge City Council members to vote against the sale of the utility during the approval process. Read more about this story on PBJ.com.

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