UGI Paid $40 Million on Improvements Last Year, Quintuple that Amount to Investors

When I humbly tweeted UGI asking them to hold back some dividend payments and spend more this year on fixing the aging pipes under homes and businesses in Allentown, I didn’t know things that make the negligence that killed 5 city residents last year even more despicable:

  • UGI has paid dividends EVERY YEAR SINCE 1885.  So their dividend streak is about as old as the pipes that need replacing.
  • Dividend payments to investors last year totaled $207,000,000.  $207 million dollars.

Responding to my tweet, the PR operative charged with doing such things pointed out that UGI spent $40 million last year replacing old pipes. Excuse me if I don’t quite understand how that absolves the company from having totally corrupt priorities. Last year, when 5 people died because they had the misfortune of living above UGI’s compromised pipes, UGI, formerly United Gas Improvements, paid out $40 million on said improvements and  five times that amount to investors in the form of dividends.  That’s not technically a crime, but it probably should be.

How Much Will UGI Update Allentown’s Infrastructure Before This Happens Again?

There was another gas explosion in Allentown today.  Thankfully, no one was killed.  The fact that the explosion happened while the cast iron pipe was in the process of being replaced doesn’t make me feel any better.  How long until all remaining 100-year-old cast iron pipes in the natural gas infrastructure are replaced by UGI?  It hasn’t even been a week since this post about the sinkhole on 1oth Street and the degraded infrastructure below our residential neighborhoods.

The related articles below are recent looks at UGI’s financial health.  I have an idea for the powers that be:  take some of those extraordinary dividends and use them to fix the effing pipes.