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Philadelphia Co. Shutting Off Gas

June 24, 2001

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The city’s gas utility intends to begin shutting off service to thousands of delinquent customers.

Philadelphia Gas Works has targeted 14,000 customers with bills exceeding $750 and at least 90 days overdue, PGW spokesman Harvey Clark said. The total delinquency comes to about $42 million.

The shut-offs starting Tuesday exclude low-income customers as well as the elderly and customers with severe illnesses, Clark said.

The city-owned company wanted to start shutting off service after a state-mandated winter moratorium ended April 1.

But city council members asked for a delay, arguing the company’s failure to promptly answer customers’ phone calls made it difficult for delinquent customers to communicate with the utility.

An audit found the utility took an average of 15 to 30 minutes to answer when customers called with questions or complaints, and the company agreed to make face-to-face visits to delinquent customers.

Three of PGW’s former top executives face criminal charges of misusing funds and other offenses. The utility also has huge interest payments due on its nearly $1 billion debt.

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On the Net:

Philadelphia Gas Works: http://www.philly-fuels.org

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