By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A top official at the Philadelphia Gas Works says Mayor Nutter’s recent shut-off notice because of an unpaid bill proves that PGW no longer plays favorites in who its collectors go after.
Back in the 1980s word got out that the city-owned PGW was giving break to prominent officials.
This prompted Steve Hershey, then an attorney with Community Legal Services, to go to court demanding an end to the special treatment.
“Certain public officials were getting different than all other people in the management of their accounts at PGW,” Hershey says.
That led to a settlement in which PGW agreed to end the favoritism.
Hershey now works for PGW, as a vice president for regulatory and external affairs.
He says the current system of shut off notices and liens is computerized.
“We set up an automated, computer-based system, which looks at different risk factors, size of bill, how long its been due, etc. And it is neutral as to who the customer is,” Hershey says.
The case of the lien placed on Mayor Nutter’s home is proof, Hershey says, that PGW no longer gives breaks to those with connections.
Hershey says, “every customer must be treated according to standardized risk factors that don’t change with the name or address of the person. Nobody gets a break.”
Nutter says a single missed bill prompted the lien on his home.
Hershey said he could not speak to the specifics of that case.