Posts for the Category ‘General’

Jun
12
2014
5:38 pm

Natural gas safety for your home

Natural gas is one of the cleanest and most reliable energy sources, but there are safety measures to keep in mind when using it around the home.

It’s important to understand how to recognize and respond to leaking or damaged pipelines.

Check out our DOs and DON’Ts for managing natural gas in your home:

DO:

  • Learn all you can about natural gas. The more you know…the safer you’ll be.
  • If you detect the smell of natural gas in the air, don’t stay—get away. You should then contact Atlanta Gas Light immediately at 877.427.4321 or call 9-1-1. In its purest form, natural gas is colorless and odorless. A harmless chemical called mercaptan is added to natural gas to give it the distinctive, rotten egg odor.
  • Look for the blue flame. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception. Their flame is usually yellow.)
  • Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business inspected every year or two by qualified industry professionals.
  • Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.
  • Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.
  • Review these natural gas safety tips regularly with ALL family members and coworkers.

DON’T:

  • Never let small children play with, or near, natural gas appliances or pipes.
  • Don’t use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, to heat your home) under any circumstances.
  • Never move, install a gas appliance, or change a connector for any reason without professional assistance.
  • Do not use a space heater UNTIL you are sure it has been vented properly. If using a vent-free heater, make sure the automatic cut-off switch is operational.
  • Don’t install a gas appliance yourself, unless you are a qualified contractor. Instead, you should always seek professional assistance.
  • Never store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.
  • Above all, don’t forget to learn what to do if you ever smell natural gas in the air: call AGL at 877.427.4321 or 9-1-1 immediately!

Follow these safety tips and you will have a warm, happy and safe home powered by natural gas.

Questions? Ask us in the comment section below!

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Apr
4
2014
6:37 pm

Let’s clear the air: Tax credit for low-emissions commercial vehicles is a wise investment in our future

Too often, public discourse about our environment dissolves into zero-sum game arguments, with any potential policy change tallied as a win for either “green” advocates or big business. This line of thinking is predicated on a misguided assumption: that the interests of these two parties are necessarily at odds.

Fortunately in Georgia, that’s simply not the case. Consider House Bill 348, a common-sense piece of legislation sponsored by State Rep. Don Parsons, R-Marietta, that passed the General Assembly last week with strong bi-partisan support.

The legislation establishes tax credits for commercial alternative fuel vehicles purchased in Georgia. That could mean a delivery van powered by natural gas, or a service truck that runs on electricity.

The goal is to create meaningful incentives for companies to upgrade their fleets and put more low-emission vehicles on our state’s roads and highways. This legislation also helps us to remain competitive with other states like Florida and Oklahoma that have enacted laws that have accelerated the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles.

Georgia is a transportation hub, and our logistics industry is a major contributor to our economy and jobs.  However, motor vehicle exhaust is also one of the largest contributors to poor air quality in Georgia, exacerbating a host of respiratory and circulatory issues, from asthma to heart disease.

The impact is far-reaching: In Cobb alone, more than 15,000 children and nearly 150,000 adults have asthma, according to the American Lung Association.  The cost of dirty air is measured in school absences, doctor’s visits, trips to the emergency room, and hospital admissions.

Clean energy vehicles that run on natural gas or electricity can help to keep our economy strong while also reducing harmful smog causing emissions by up to 90 percent. They also reduce our reliance on oil imports.

House Bill 348 specifically covers commercial vehicles powered by alternative fuels such as natural gas, electricity, propane, or hydrogen. Each of these fuels produce significantly lower emissions than diesel or gasoline, and are derived some domestic sources of energy. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is the most popular alternative fuel for commercial fleets, as it is widely available and significantly less expensive than gasoline or diesel – about $1.50 to $2 less per gallon.

The savings can be substantial. DeKalb County, which recently converted its sanitation fleet to use CNG, estimates it will save $3 million over an eight-year period. Atlanta-based UPS is able to keep its shipping rates low by fueling delivery trucks with CNG.

Not long ago, the idea of plugging in your car or filling the tank with natural gas seemed nothing short of science fiction. But technology has advanced rapidly. CNG stations are now located throughout Georgia, while electric vehicle charging stations are common sights in many parking garages.

Our state legislature and Rep. Parsons in particular, should be applauded for taking steps to encourage the use of alternative fuel sources. It’s a modest investment that promises to pay great dividends down the road in the form of cleaner air, greater energy independence, a stronger economy, and healthier lives.

You can also find my article on HB 348 on The Marietta Daily Journal’s website here.

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Mar
11
2014
2:23 pm

Struggling with higher heating costs? You could be eligible for assistance!

Georgia has experienced an unusually cold winter this year. Thousands of families throughout the state are struggling with higher-than-usual heating costs — and Gas South feels it important to let you know there are local resources to help.

Several non-profits are offering financial assistance or have extended programs helping those who are most in need. As a company committed to advancing the communities in which we live, work and serve, Gas South works with these organizations — such as the Salvation Army’s Project SHARE — and urges those who need help to reach out to them.

Here are some organizations and programs that may be able to help. Additional information is also available on the ‘Paying your Bill‘ page of Gas South’s website.

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)                                                                             Department of Human Resources
    Community Service Section
    Two Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 19-228
    Atlanta, GA 30303-3180
    404-657-3426 or 1-800-869-1150 (Toll Free)
    http://www.dhr.georgia.gov/

 

 

Each organization establishes its own criteria for assistance eligibility, which can be based on income or available funds, so we advise you to call or visit the web pages listed above for more details.

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Jan
9
2014
9:33 am

Brrr!!! Higher bill this month?

It’s Mother Nature…but you can do something about it

Did you know what a “Polar Vortex” was before this week? Nope, neither did we. For those of us who had the recent “pleasure” of experiencing its frigid fringe, we learned that, as the name suggests, it’s very, very cold. So cold, in fact, that for a night, Atlanta was even chillier than Moscow, Russia, at 5  ̊F. That was just the temperature reading, however. Throw in the wind-chill factor and it felt like -11 on Peachtree Street Tuesday morning – a record-setter in the normally pleasant state of Georgia.

As expected, the local news was filled with how-to advice for battling the plunging temperatures. One segment even featured Gas South Vice President of HR & External Affairs, Meredith Hodges, who said that natural gas consumption was more than 20 percent higher in Georgia this past December than in the previous two years. And more bad news: January could be even higher! That means homes across the country could experience “bill shock” because of increased heating costs.

Since you may be using more gas than usual, your bills could be higher than you’d expect. As the temperature drops, your furnace must work even harder to keep your home warm. During this cold snap, follow a few easy energy saving tips, so you can stay comfortable AND save money. Did you know that decreasing the thermostat temperature by one degree can lower your bill by 3 percent? Or that that 40 percent of the energy loss in your home is due to leakage? We hope these energy-saving tips, some of which take little to no time or money to implement, will make a big difference for you.

In the meantime, stay warm!

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Dec
10
2013
2:52 pm

Save money and energy with these simple year-round tips

Hey, what happened to fall in Georgia this year? Sure, the colors changed as planned, but doesn’t it seem like we skipped the pleasant transition of sunny, warm days with cool nights and went straight to scraping ice off the windshield and rummaging around the attic for ugly holiday sweaters?

All of this means one thing, of course – You’re using more gas to heat your home. However, there are things you can do to help offset higher energy bills. Follow these simple and important tips and you’ll be well on your way to saving energy this winter:

Lower the Temperature: In the winter, set your thermostat to 68°F when you’re home or 60°F when you’re away. But do not turn it off. It will cost more to reheat your home from colder temperatures than to keep it at 60°F. This can save 5-20% on your heating costs. Even lowering your heat by one degree during any 24-hour period can decrease your heating bill by up to 3%.

Maintain your heating system: Keep the filter clean and make sure that rugs and furniture are not blocking vents inside the house. Hire a licensed contractor to inspect your unit and consider upgrading old units for improved efficiency.

Insulate your home and seal your windows and doors: More than 40% of residential energy loss is due mainly to air leakage – yikes! Add caulk or weather stripping to windows and doors to reduce energy-sapping drafts. Caulk around pipes, ducts, vents or other openings in walls, floors, ceiling and attic.

Run appliances with full loads: Running the dryer or dishwasher with small loads uses the same energy as running them with full loads.

Open blinds and drapes during the day: Let the sun shine in during the winter for added warmth. Close at night to prevent drafts and loss of heat through the glass.

Stay warm, Georgians! For more great tips, visit our website.

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Nov
15
2013
3:41 pm

Hit the clutch & shift your mindset on natural gas

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to the Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association (GHLA) and area business leaders about natural gas as a fuel option for vehicles. I spoke about the need for a shift in our collective mindset concerning natural gas powered vehicles. This shift is imperative to the prosperity and sustainability of Atlanta’s economy.

It is essential that business leaders, municipalities and the public understand the benefits of natural gas. Not only is natural gas a viable domestic fuel offering savings of over $1.50 a gallon when compared to diesel and gasoline, it provides reduced emissions and greenhouse gasses for Atlanta’s air.  With the efforts of compressed natural gas (CNG) companies like Clean Energy, AFS, AGL, Trillium and private companies such as Frito-Lay, AT&T, UPS, Waste Management and Coca-Cola, stations are being built and the “Chicken and Egg” question is being answered.

On November 18th -21st, Atlanta will be hosting the National Natural Gas Vehicle Conference and Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center.  This will be an opportunity for Atlanta’s business community to see, feel and touch the technology, as well as learn about the savings and environmental benefits that it provides.

In 1996, Atlanta showcased natural gas powered vehicles to the masses when Marta transitioned city buses from petroleum to clean burning natural gas.  I think it’s time for the transportation hub of the southeast to once again show leadership by choosing a fuel that is domestically sourced, provides savings for businesses and reduces the impact on the air we breathe.

What is stopping your business from making the switch to CNG?

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Oct
24
2013
2:58 pm

Meredith Hodges named one of Georgia’s ‘Most Powerful & Influential Women’

Gas South is thrilled to announce that Meredith Hodges, our vice president of external affairs and human resources, was honored by the Georgia Diversity Council as one of the most powerful and influential women in Georgia. Meredith received the prestigious award on Sept. 27 at the 4th Annual Georgia Leadership Conference.

The awards are intended for businesswomen who have made a difference through their achievements and exemplify the ability to excel in their fields, and Meredith certainly fits the bill. Her 20 years of experience in the utility industry make her a vital resource at Gas South and a true leader.

At Gas South, Meredith is really a Jill of all trades – she oversees human resources, legislative and regulatory affairs, public relations, and community involvement. I commonly and affectionately call Meredith our “Chief People Officer”, because she makes Gas South a great place to work and a great company to do business with. She has spearheaded many community service initiatives over the years, and stays involved in the community through her volunteer efforts with local organizations such as the Woodruff Arts Center, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, United Way, Junior Achievement, and others.

We’re extremely proud, go Meredith!

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Oct
4
2013
4:24 pm

Breathe easy this winter with these carbon monoxide safety tips

Cooler weather will be here before you know it, which means it’s almost time to crank up the heat! While heating appliances are operating in your home this season, it’s important to remember a few safety tips about carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a tasteless, odorless substance produced from the combustion of carbon-based substances, and can be emitted from fireplaces, faulty furnaces, generators, water heaters, and other heat sources. If inhaled, CO can be very poisonous and may cause severe side effects including sickness, nausea, headaches, drowsiness, and sometimes even death.

To keep your household safe this winter, practice these safety tips so you can breathe easy:

  1. Have a CO alarm and monitor in the home, and test it regularly. Keep the monitor at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
  2. Don’t use grills, generators, or camping stoves inside the home. These appliances can emit high amounts of CO, and it’s important to only use them in well-ventilated areas.
  3. Never leave a car running in the garage. Car exhaust is one of the substances commonly associated with CO poisoning.
  4. Keep gasoline stored in a locked location away from children, and keep only in small quantities. It’s also important to keep gasoline away from heat sources to prevent combustion and CO emission.
  5. Have home heating systems inspected and serviced annually by a trained technician. This includes appliances like furnaces, gas stoves and ovens, and water heaters.

Keep these tips in mind over the coming months so you can keep warm and stay safe as it gets cooler outside. For more information on natural gas and carbon monoxide safety practices, click here.

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Sep
5
2013
11:40 am

Gas South lets freedom ring

At 3:00 PM on August 29, Gas South answered the call from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by joining the echo of bells ringing around the world to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Atlanta City Council President, Ceasar C. Mitchell led our city in the ringing of the bells to honor this important milestone.

I was 15 years old when Dr. King gave his speech. That speech was an important punctuation within the changes that were afoot. Here in Atlanta, when we traveled to other cities, we took a large box of food, as well as a small empty jar for me, since restaurants and restrooms were problematic. I remember that my race had to climb the outside fire escape and enter the balcony to attend shows at the Fox Theater. We never went. Lakewood Amusement Park, which had a roller coaster and dodgem cars, had a “Colored Day”, once a year. We went. And to have a complete football season, you had to play other black schools from Macon, Augusta, or Savannah. My, how times have changed.

Dr. King’s vision was for equality and for all people to be judged on the content of their character. The successes achieved against racial bias have been supplanted by the challenges of poverty and poor education. Let us not rest on our laurels. The work continues….

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Aug
21
2013
2:57 pm

Hey, Realtors: Want to make a lasting impression?

Realtors are fully aware of how important going the extra mile is. That’s because their livelihood depends on it. And, more often than not, it’s the last impression you leave on a client – not just the first one — that defines how favorably they viewed your service and whether they would recommend you to others.

So what does all this have to do with natural gas or Gas South? Quite a lot, actually. Our new Realtor Advantage Program (RAP for short…and, yes, I chose the catchy acronym) was designed to provide realtors with a great, impression-setting housewarming present for their clients: an exclusive discounted rate on natural gas with no deposit ever required plus other special enrollment incentives.

And not only is RAP more generous with your clients than other referral programs, it’s not a one-way street — you also receive special gift opportunities for your client referrals. (What’s the gift? Call 770-763-4678 to find out)

Another key difference: Our user-friendly realtor portal. The portal allows you to track the status of your client referrals so you can see who’s signed up (or who hasn’t) and when you will receive your rewards. Another bonus: There’s also a section which has printable materials that explain our great offer to your clients, saving you the trouble.

However, as great as RAP is, it still lacks something important. A rap! That’s right – a tune with lyrics that are as catchy as the program…a rap for our RAP, so to speak. In fact, I brought this up in a meeting the other day and, surprisingly, there were few takers for the assignment.

Anyway, before I go off on a tangent, I’ll (w)rap up my debut blog post (sorry, couldn’t resist) by encouraging you to sign up for RAP or spread the word. We’re really excited about our program and know you will value your rewards as well as the special benefits for your clients. So, sign up today and learn all of the details.

Oh, and there’s another reason to sign up right away. Our Summer RAP contest is in full effect.  We’re giving away an iPad this August, and every realtor who refers a client will be submitted into the drawing. Anyway, for now, that’s a (w)rap!

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