Ballard Spahr helped the City of Philadelphia ink an agreement to sell its natural gas utility, the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), to UIL Holdings Corporation for about $1.9 billion in a deal that would put the country’s biggest city-owned gas company in private hands.

Under the terms of the deal, UIL will maintain its current base rates until 2017. After that, any changes must be approved by Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission. PGW manages about 6,000 miles of gas mains and pipes for 500,000 customers in Philadelphia. The deal still must be approved by Philadelphia City Council and the state utility commission.

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