10/29/2008 - The city-owned gas utility offers a great deal to its poorest customers: At a fixed discount rate, these 78,000 Philadelphia families can use all the gas they want.
With no financial incentive to conserve, it's little wonder these customers' gas usage is almost 50 percent higher on average than the thousands of other Philadelphia Gas Works customers who pay full price.
That may be a sure-fire way to keep people warm, but it's no way to run the nation's largest municipally owned natural gas utility. In fact, the runaway cost to subsidize poor customers - up fivefold since 2002 - represents only the most glaring challenge to PGW's survival.
Those woes are nothing new, but an independent study by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia - commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trusts and William Penn Foundation - makes a strong case for addressing the utility's structural financial problems sooner, not later.
Read the full editorial Economy League Study on the Philadelphia Inquirer's Web site.