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Philadelphia Gas Works

[Record group 151]
Alternative/Former Names
Trustees of the Gas Works;
Gas Commission
Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation

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Agency Function
The Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) is owned by the City and is used for the acquisition, storage, processing, and distribution of gas within the City of Philadelphia. PGW is the largest municipally owned gas utility in the country, maintaining a distribution system of approximately 6,000 miles of gas mains and service pipes serving approximately 518,000 customers. PGW provides the City $18 million a year as compensation for its tax exempt status and as a return on the City's investment.

PGW's operations are managed by a non-profit corporation, the Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation (PFMC) The Board of PFMC is appointed by the Mayor and its responsibilities, as set forth in a Management Agreement between the City and PFMC, make PFMC responsible for all operations of PGW through an executive management team including a chief executive officer, a chief operating officer, and a chief financial officer.

PGW is regulated by the Philadelphia Gas Commission and not the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission. The Commission has five members: the City Controller, two mayoral appointees, and two City Council appointees. The Commission is responsible for establishing PGW's rates, gas quality standards, and review of PGW's capital and operating budgets.

Agency History
The Philadelphia Gas Works, built in pursuance of an ordinance of March 21, 1835, was under its provisions administered by a board of twelve Trustees elected by City Council for three-year terms. Upon the consolidation of the City and County in 1854 the Trustees were authorized to purchase and administer all other gas works within the County. Under the terms of the Bullitt Bill, the Trustees were abolished in 1887. The operation of the Works was transferred to the Bureau of Gas, created in 1854, within the Department of Public Works. In 1897 the City contracted with the United Gas Improvement company for the Administration of the Works, the Bureau of Gas retaining inspectorial duties over UGI's performance. At the renewal of the contract in 1927 a Gas Commission of three members was appointed to four-year terms (by the Mayor and UGI) to oversee the company's performance. In 1937 the Gas Works lease was transferred to the Philadelphia Gas Works Company, and the Gas Commission's composition was changed to include two members of City Council, one mayoral and one Company appointee, and the City Controller. With the adoption of the City Charter of 1951 the Commission was made a departmental board of the Department of Public Property. When the agreement of 1937 was superseded by one of 1961 with the United Gas Improvement Company, a new Gas Commission, removed from the Department of Public Property, was created composed of the City Controller and four members of whom two were appointed by City Council and two by the Mayor for terms of four years.

Archival Records
151.1 Trustees of Gas Works. Register of Gas, Monthly Bills Receivable (January - July 1854)

151.1a Trustees of Gas Works. Agreement with City of Philadelphia (19 March 1856)

151.1b Trustees of Gas Works. Ordinance and By-Laws (1859)

151.1c Trustees of Gas Works. Annual Report (1836-1856, 1871-1883, 1886)

151.2 Gas Commission. Papers re: re-lease of Gas Works to United Gas Improvement Company (1921-1928)

151.3 Gas Commission. Inventory. City Property Used by Philadelphia Gas Works Company. (1950)

151.4 Gas Commission. Agreements (1897-1972)

151.5 Gas Commission. Transcript of Public Hearing. (20 November 1947)

151.6 Audits (1951, 1953-1954)

151.7 Capital Budgets (1963-1965)

151.8 Report and Recommendations on Pension Funding (1963, 1964)

151.9 Reporton Capital Program (April 1963)

151.10 Financial Report (1963-1964, 1966-1967)

151.11 Reports to the Gas Commission (1950, 1954, 1959, 1962-1964)

151.12 Philadelphia Gas Works. Reports (1949, ca. 1963)

151.13 Minutes (January 30, 1963, February 27, 1963, April 24, 1963, November 30, 1966)

151.14 Correspondence and Papers (1963)

151.15 Report of the Gas Commission to the Mayor and Council (May 1921)

151.16 Certificate of Public Convenience (1 January 1928)

151.17 Annual Report (1963, 1967-1970, 1981, 1983-1986, 1988, 1990)

Current Records

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Last updated on November 8, 2000