Apr
18
2013
10:44 am

SweetWater’s 420 Fest is THIS weekend!

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Celebrate Earth Day at SweetWater’s 420 Fest in Atlanta’s historic Candler Park. SweetWater has long been a valued Gas South customer, one that shares our values when it comes to environmental stewardship and giving back to the communities we serve, so we are happy to sponsor this great event. The music festival, now in its fourth year, kicks off on Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday. There will be an area for the kids to run around in and plenty of delicious SweetWater on tap for the adults. It’s sure to be a great time!

Gas South will once again be sponsoring Planet 420, a special section of the festival featuring a live music stage and an area where you can learn about the amazing work being done by local nonprofit organizations.

Stop by Planet 420 on Saturday and Sunday for Gas South’s 2nd Annual “Cornhole Challenge.” Never heard of cornhole? It’s like horseshoes. The object of the game is to toss a beanbag into a hole on a raised wooden platform. Read more about the rules of game here.

On Saturday, the Cornhole Challenge is open to all festival-goers. Just form a team, make a $20 donation, and start tossing. On Sunday, the competition really heats up with many of Atlanta’s nonprofit organizations vying for the coveted title of Gas South’s Charity Cornhole Champion. The winning group will receive the proceeds from Saturday’s tournament – an amount that will be matched by Sweetwater and Gas South.

The party starts at 4:20 on Friday. We encourage all guests to take Marta, as parking is limited around the park. Admission is free, but if you wish to enjoy SweetWater’s famous drafts, you must purchase a $5 wristband with valid ID.

Now, start practicing your delicate underhand toss and join us and the folks at SweetWater in honoring Mother Earth and have fun while you do it. See you there!

Apr
12
2013
1:59 pm

Gas South ‘Brings the Heat’ in 2013

Much has changed for the Atlanta Braves this season. Hometown hero Chipper Jones has retired and the lineup is crowded with exciting new faces, such as the Upton brothers.

But some things haven’t changed. For the sixth straight year, Gas South will donate $25 to a local charity each time a Braves pitcher records a strikeout, as part of our Bring the Heat® campaign. When a strikeout takes place at Turner Field, you’ll see fireworks erupting from Gas South’s iconic sign in right field.  This celebratory display will signify that Gas South has donated another $25 to charity. This year’s proceeds will benefit the United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Since 2008, Gas South has contributed more than $172,000 to Georgia nonprofits through Bring the Heat®.  Just last year alone, the Atlanta Braves recorded 1,232 strikeouts, helping us raise $61,600 for Georgia charities. It’s yet another reason to cheer when everyone’s favorite closer, Craig Kimbrell strikes out the competition.

By partnering with the Braves for Bring the Heat®, we are able to fulfill our commitment to give back to the communities we serve.

So as you enjoy your hot dog (or gourmet steak sandwich!) at Turner field this season, be sure to take note of the Gas South sign and lend your loudest voice and best tomahawk chop to our Braves pitchers. Because the more strikeouts they pitch, the more money we donate to the United Way.

Go Braves!

Mar
29
2013
5:33 pm

Women helping women: The importance of female mentors in the workplace

Two weeks ago I found myself standing at the Cobb Galleria alongside 14 women at the Northwest Georgia YWCA’s Tribute to Women. This annual event honors women who have made extraordinary contributions to family, community, charity and their professions. I felt incredibly honored and humbled to be recognized among Georgia’s most outstanding female leaders. But it also got me thinking: How did I get here?

The role of women as leaders in the workplace has become a hot topic recently. Just look at all the attention being paid to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” I admire Sandberg and the incredibly successful career she’s built. But I know how difficult it can be for women to navigate a business world that is still dominated – for the most part – by men.

I would never have been recognized as an honoree that night without the professional (and sometimes personal) guidance and support provided by female mentors throughout my career. These incredible women helped guide me during critical periods of my career. Ellen Lindeman, a past YWCA honoree and retired head of HR at the Southern Company, helped me hone my strategic thinking and goal setting.  Vera Arthur, Senior Vice President of HR for SWM International, mentored me as part of a Pathbuilders program (great resource for developing women), providing direction during my transition from manager to executive at Gas South. Sometimes their advice addressed issues particular to women. At other times, gender was irrelevant. Looking back, it was all invaluable.

I’m fortunate now to work at Gas South, where women are well-represented at all levels – even in the executive suite three of the company’s six senior leaders are women (including me!). We foster a progressive, results-focused work place, leaving no room for any cultural baggage surrounding gender.

At this point in my career, I have transitioned from mentee to mentor, offering my counsel to young professional women as they seek to climb the ranks. Here are some of the tips that I often pass on:

Tip #1: Always dress at least one notch more formal than is required, whether in the office, at a business lunch or charity gala in order to be taken seriously.

Tip #2: Be conscious about apologizing too often. Women tend to say “sorry” too often for things that don’t really warrant an apology.

Tip #3:  If you don’t make an issue that you are a woman, it reduces the chance others will.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask someone to be your mentor. Most people are flattered and will eagerly accept. Make sure to identify a skill set you need to work on and approach a person who is influential in your line of work.

At this stage of the game, I am passionate about the importance of giving back to other women.  I encourage all, both men and women, to seek out opportunities to mentor others who are earlier on in their careers.

Mar
21
2013
10:22 am

Junior Achievement Day

Gas South volunteers at Norton Park Elementary

Gas South employees recently talked about business and entrepreneurship to 4th and 5th-grade students at Norton Park Elementary School in Smyrna, as part of the company’s participation in the Junior Achievement program.

Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills among young people. Gas South has been participating in the Junior Achievement program for several years, helping children and teens across Georgia develop long-term career goals and gain a greater understanding of the business world. The goal of the program is to create a better-skilled workforce in Georgia.

Gas South employees relish the chance to give back to the community, and the children are always excited at the opportunity to break away from their everyday routine. It’s always a great day for everyone involved!

Have you volunteered with Junior Achievement before? Share your story here or find out how to get involved by checking out the organization’s website.

Mar
1
2013
4:46 pm

Natural Gas 101 – AGL Pass-Through Charges

In the last installment of the ‘Natural Gas 101’ series here on ‘The Hot Spot,’ we talked about your DDDC Factor. Today, we will help you understand AGL Pass-Through Charges.

What are the AGL Pass-Through Charges?

Have you ever looked at your natural gas bill and wondered what AGL Pass-Through Charges are? Maybe you’ve asked “Who is AGL?” and “What exactly is passed through?”  Well, Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGL) is the company that owns the pipeline system that delivers natural gas to your property.  The AGL Pass-Through Charges represent AGL’s costs for maintaining the natural gas pipelines and storage facilities, as well as reading your meter each month.  Rather than receiving a separate bill from AGL, these monthly charges are sent to your natural gas marketer (in your case, Gas South) and those charges are “passed through” to you – without any additional cost or mark-up.  You’ll see the charges from AGL on your Gas South bill, just like in the sample bill below.

When will I get charged the AGL Pass-Through Charges?

AGL Pass-Through Charges are assessed on the 20th of every month for the next month of service. The sample bill above includes AGL Pass-Through charges for the month of August.

AGL assesses the full monthly pass-through charges each month regardless of the actual number of days you receive service or the amount of gas you use in that particular month.  You’ll see the monthly AGL Pass-Through charge on each bill as the AGL charges are spread over an entire year rather than when gas is used.

How are they calculated and what exactly do the AGL Pass-Through Charges cover?

Your AGL Pass-Through Charges are exactly the same regardless of which natural gas marketer you choose.  These charges are calculated by AGL and regulated by the Georgia Public Service Commission.

AGL Pass-Through Charges vary by month and are independent of your current month’s gas usage. They will vary by month and tend to be higher in the winter months.

What are the factors AGL uses to calculate your monthly charges?

The AGL charges include:

-Customer Charge: A fixed monthly fee for gas connection to your home or business.

-Ancillary Service: Covers the cost of AGL to read your meter.

-Social Responsibility Fee: Covers the cost of funding the Senior Citizens’ Discount Program for low-income customers. (This does not apply to customers who receive the senior citizens’ discount.)

-Strategic Infrastructure Development and Enhancement (STRIDE): Covers the cost of specific Georgia Public Service Commission-approved programs to maintain the integrity and reliability of the AGL pipeline system.

What charges are based on your DDDC?

-Dedicated Design Day Capacity (DDDC): A charge that recovers costs associated with delivering gas to your home or business.

-Peaking Service: Covers the fixed cost of operating company-owned above-ground storage facilities. This ensures an adequate supply of gas on the coldest days of the year. This service is only charged to customers in certain areas of the state.

-Franchise Recovery Fee (FRF): Recovers fees paid by AGL to local governments for the use of public rights-of-way for natural gas lines and other facilities.

-Environmental Response Cost (ERC) Recovery Fee: Recovers expenses related to cleanup of former manufactured gas plant sites.

For more information, visit Gas South’s Frequently Asked Questions or AGL’s Guide to Atlanta Gas Light Charges.

 

 

 

Feb
22
2013
11:31 am

Gas South goes to the Circus

Mance, Camille and Lloyd Irvin from Decatur

You’ve all heard of the Greatest Show on Earth, right? Gas South helps make it great for local special needs children by partnering with the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association, the Georgia Municipal Association and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus producer, Feld Entertainment to host a pre-show event just for them and their families.

Last week, Gas South hosted more than 200 special needs children at Philip’s Arena for a night of circus magic. Working with our partners, we provided them with free admission to the Friday night show and a unique pre-show event created especially for our guests. The children interacted with circus animals and performers on the arena floor, enjoying full VIP treatment and experiences tailored to their special needs.  It truly was a magical night!

Cooper Radford from Atlanta makes friends with a clown.

Melissa Waller Longshore, the mother of twin boys who both have cerebral palsy, wrote to us to tell us about their experience at Philip’s last week, “Gas South, I want to thank you for allowing 425 special needs families an opportunity to attend the Ringling Brothers circus. I was one of those 425 families and I want to speak for those special needs families who attended the circus and let you know that your actions speak volumes about who you are as people and about Gas South, the company. That you see merit in reaching out to the community, every member in it, that you see value in people. I wanted to let you know that your generosity meant so much to so many….Thank you.”

We are now gearing up for more circus fun tonight at Gwinnett Center! We’ll be hosting the whole event again for another big group and we couldn’t be more excited.

Stay tuned for more pictures and updates next week. So, what’s your favorite circus memory?

Gas South employees, Wakeeta and Geoffrey team up with a circus clown to get ready to greet our guests!

Feb
12
2013
4:31 pm

Customer Spotlight – Marlow’s Tavern

This week on The Hot Spot, we are featuring one of our valued customers. So we sat down with John Metz, the Executive Chef and Co-Founder of Marlow’s Tavern to talk about his fantastic restaurants.

Thanks for joining us, John. So tell us, how and when was Marlow’s Tavern first started?

We wanted to create a great neighborhood place where we could go to enjoy friends, family, excellent food, great adult beverages and a warm environment. We wanted to re-invent the tavern segment: take the best of the older classic taverns and modernize it.  We opened our first Marlow’s Tavern in November 2004.

How is the menu chosen?

We have assembled a small and well-balanced menu, which is changed every season on both the food and the adult beverage side.  We take great R&D trips around Atlanta, around the country and around the world.  We want to bring unique ingredients and flavors to the neighborhoods we serve.  We combine those ingredients with core elements and ingredients on the menu to make it approachable for our guests.

That sounds delicious! So, what is your favorite thing about Marlow’s?

I really like the fact that the menu is small enough to execute at a very consistent and high level, but that we have a broad appeal with many unique ingredients that you would not traditionally see in a tavern or casual restaurant.

How do you choose your live entertainment?

We have music in every tavern – some taverns one day a week and some taverns five or seven days a week. It just depends on the neighborhood.  Our General Managers coordinate all of our music selections with support from our market/operating partners.

What is the best way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at Marlow’s?

We try very hard to keep our website and Facebook pages up to date, but it is hard in this fast moving world we live in. We supplement with a great quarterly newsletter and email notices with events, features and fun at the taverns every couple of weeks. To really stay on top of everything at Marlow’s and get some good deals too, sign up to be an Insider on our website.

Why does Marlow’s use Gas South?

We have been partners with Gas South for many years in all of our businesses, not just Marlow’s.  I think our cultures, level of service and hospitality align, and we like to support our friends and partners who like to support us.  It is very much a two-way collaboration and we need Gas South as much as Gas South needs Marlow’s.

Does Marlow’s have any specials coming up that you would like our readers to know about?

Yes, we are bringing NOLA to ATL with our annual “Bayou ‘n Bourbon” menu full of cuisine from the Deep South. Starting today through Monday, March 25, all Atlanta-area tavern locations are featuring the menu full of jazzed up dishes and classic cocktails that will take diners taste buds on a trip to the Big Easy. Check out our Facebook page for more info.

That’s great, John. We really appreciate your time. So readers, be sure to check out Marlow’s at any of their metro Atlanta locations and tell us, what’s your favorite item on the Marlow’s Tavern menu?

Jan
25
2013
12:02 pm

Gas South Employee Spotlight

For this month’s employee spotlight, we interviewed Greg Dunavant about his experiences at Gas South and his plans for his new position. Greg was recently promoted and is now our Senior Manager of Customer Care.

Greg, congratulations on your promotion! So, what are the responsibilities of your new position?

Thanks Meredith. As the Senior Manager of Customer Care, my goal is to provide our customers a best-in-class customer care experience. To do this, I am working with our team to identify processes and policies which can be improved, and once these processes are identified, we can implement solutions. I am also focused on empowering our team to help customers, developing our leadership team and associates, keeping the customer care team involved with the communities we serve and ensuring that Gas South is a great place to work.

Wow! That is great, Greg! Now, how long have you been working for Gas South?

I have been with Gas South since its inception in 2006.  I started with Gas South on the Supply and Risk Management Team as an analyst, and have been part of the Mass Markets team since 2007, working in both operations and marketing.

In terms of your new position, what are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to partnering with our customer care associates to continue to improve how we serve our customers. Since “in-sourcing” our customer care center in May 2012, we have empowered our team to make sound business decisions for the good of our customers and we’ve also implemented several system-wide changes which have improved the quality of service we are providing.  I am excited to build on this momentum. I am also looking forward to learning from the team and helping our employees develop professionally.

What is your favorite part about working at Gas South?

Our culture of empowerment is my favorite part of working at Gas South. This culture encourages employees to identify opportunities, recommend changes and implement solutions. I also love our commitment to the communities we serve.  All of our 150+ employees live in Georgia and are encouraged to give back through volunteering time and resources.

Those are a few of my favorite parts too! So Greg, how do you spend your free time?

Well, I am graduating from the Georgia Tech MBA program in May so much of my free time is dedicated to preparing for class, going to school and studying. When I am not focusing on school, my wife and I enjoy spending time with family and friends, exploring Atlanta and pulling for the Auburn Tigers.

Thanks Greg. We are all looking forward to working together with you to continue to grow and improve. 2013 is already shaping up to be a great year!

Jan
18
2013
5:21 pm

Atlanta Corporate Fight Night VI: Fighting for a Worthy Cause

We are excited to be a sponsor of the Atlanta Corporate Fight Night VI where one of our analysts, Josh “TNT” Tittle will be boxing. The event takes place Thursday, January 24th at The Foundry at Puritan Mill where Josh will face Austin Joseph in the heavyweight division. Josh is looking forward to competing in his second Atlanta Corporate Fight Night, representing Gas South and our commitment to the communities we serve.

The Atlanta Corporate Fight Night is an event where each boxer chooses a favorite charitable organization that they fight for, both in the ring and in the community.  Boxers market their cause within the community and get sponsors and donations for their fight.  The winner’s charity receives the funds that both boxers raised for their match.  Last spring, Josh won his fight and $750 was donated to his charity, Urban League of Greater Atlanta.

This year, Josh’s charity is Positive Growth, Inc. in Clarkston, GA. Their mission is to strengthen the lives of children, youth, adults and families during difficult life transitions.  One of their programs is a home for boys between ages 6 and 21 that are in the foster system.  Currently there are about 20 boys in the home.  Having been involved with this charity for over a year, Josh plans to continue being a mentor and assist some of the boys as they train for a 5k combination run and obstacle course in the spring.

Although Josh was on the Georgia Tech football team and a club wrestling team, he had never participated in boxing prior to last year, but you’d never know by his performance.  In anticipation of this year’s fight, he has been training about 4 days a week.

If you’d like to see Josh in this black tie, black eye affair, you can purchase tickets or make a donation here. General admission tickets are $25 (may or may not get a seat) and preferred seating tickets are $50. For more information about tickets or the event, leave a comment here or email Josh at josh.tittle@gas-south.com.

 

Jan
7
2013
3:35 pm

5 Ways to Keep Your Natural Gas Costs Down

As the winter season begins, our customers often come to us looking for the best way to keep their natural gas costs down.  We are prepared every year to provide our customers with tips to do just that.  Here are a handful of ways you can potentially cut your natural gas usage during the winter months.

1.) Invest in a programmable thermostat. The majority of programmable thermostats allow you to set multiple time frames and temperatures to fit your lifestyle.  There are even a few that can adapt to those frequent “nudges” that you give the thermostat to take the chill off and automatically change their programming to fit.  Avoid changing the temperatures once you have it programmed to avoid unnecessary increases in your natural gas usage.

2.) Avoid large swings in temperature. Avoid raising or lowering the temperature settings more than 5-8 degrees in a daily period to save on natural gas usage.  The only exception should be when you are not at home for an extended period of time when you can set it at a lower temperature than normal.  Large swings in temperature can cause your unit to work harder to heat your home.  Remember, you are not only heating the air but everything in your home as well.

3.) Change the filter in your furnace or air handler regularly. Most HVAC companies recommend inspecting, cleaning, or replacing the filter every month during the summer and winter seasons.  A dirty air filter causes your system to work harder to push the air throughout your home, causing increased energy usage.

4.) Keep windows and doors shut. Another easy way to save on heating costs is to make sure that all windows and doors remain closed.  Close blinds or drapes to further decrease the amount of heat loss through your windows.

5.) Wear warm clothes. This is one of the easiest and cost effective ways to lower your energy bills during the winter.   Most energy efficiency websites recommend a maximum heating temperature setting of less than 70 degrees.  For those of you who feel cold at temperatures below 70 degrees, a light jacket, sweat shirt, or long sleeve shirt can help keep you warm without having to raise your thermostat temperature and therefore your natural gas usage.

Though heating bills are ultimately dependent on how cold the winter is, these tips should allow you to save on your natural gas usage. What are some ways you try to save during the colder months?

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