Posts Tagged ‘natural gas’

Apr
17
2014
4:11 pm

Play Ball!

After a long, cold winter and a six-month hiatus, baseball season is finally back.   So what better way to take in last week’s Atlanta Braves home-opener than hanging out with 350 friends, witnessing the special 40-year commemoration of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, and spending time with a former boxing heavyweight world champ?

The friends were in fact realtors who attended the 3rd Annual Realtor Appreciation Day, hosted by Gas South, Atlanta Peach Movers, Silverton Mortgage and Pierre & Associates.  It was a great way for us to celebrate, and thank the real estate agents who have helped make our Realtor Advantage Program (RAP) a success.

And the champ? Local legend Evander Holyfield, who even took up cornhole for the night, made possible by Gas South’s Cornhole Challenge. The verdict: He could compete for the ‘cornholder’ championship title, too!

Adding more buzz to the night was the kickoff of our Summer RAP contest. We’re giving away an iPad in May, and every realtor who refers a client to Gas South will be entered into the drawing.

We all had fun and we were thankful for the opportunity to show our appreciation to our realtor partners, who had a great time too!

So here’s to doing it again next year. Go Braves!

 

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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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Jul
11
2013
5:45 pm

Natural gas exports on the rise

Over the past few years, the U.S. energy landscape has been transformed.

New drilling techniques have unlocked vast reserves of natural gas within shale rock formations and as the supply of natural gas soared, prices dropped. The U.S. is now producing more oil and gas than it imports. Experts are even raising the possibility that the country may one day be energy independent.

All of this serves as background to discuss an interesting development in the natural gas industry: The federal government recently granted permission for a terminal on the Gulf Coast of Texas to ship liquefied natural gas to Japan.

Now, this may not sound like a big deal. But gas producers have been lobbying to increase the amount of natural gas they can send overseas. Gas prices are much higher on the global market than they are here at home.

The decision is seen by many industry observers as an indication of the government’s willingness to approve even more gas exporting agreements. (Terminals are allowed to export natural gas to countries with whom the U.S. has a free trade agreement, but they must seek government approval to send gas elsewhere.)

So, what does this trend mean for the natural gas industry?

One concern is that exporting more natural gas will reduce domestic supply, raising prices for consumers. However, some say an increase in prices will provide an incentive for companies to produce more natural gas, keeping prices in check.

It’s important to remember that the volume of natural gas deposits accessible via new drilling techniques is vast. The contemplated increase in gas exports is comparatively much smaller and some expect a limited impact on domestic prices.

At Gas South, our natural gas experts study the industry closely with one goal in mind: to offer our customers great prices and the most reliable service.

So, what do you think about exporting natural gas?

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May
24
2013
2:27 pm

Hot topics: natural gas, manufacturing and exporting LNG

Last week, Gas South had the opportunity to host some of Georgia’s largest manufacturers at the Cherokee Town Club in Atlanta. We heard from industry experts, economists and lawyers regarding hot topics in the natural gas business.

We discussed the state of the natural gas market and listened to a presentation given by our very own Supply and Risk Management Manager, Michael Swartzell. We also explored the potential impact of exporting Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and how it would affect the U.S. economy, a great discussion led by Roger Tutterow of Mercer University. The group also gained insight into the process of fracking through a session with Mr. Walt Standisky of Roper Pump Company. Lastly, David Wochner of Sutherland Asbill and Brennan gave an update on the regulatory environment for LNG and fracking.

The major takeaways from the sessions were:

- Natural gas is domestic, plentiful and changing the energy landscape of the United States

- The U.S. is the #1 producer of natural gas in the world

- Economists are predicting the shale gas boom to continue and that by 2040 annual natural gas production will rise by 50%

- Only two LNG export terminals are operating in the U.S.

- World demand and higher prices in other markets will continue to drive producers to push for more export terminals

- It is uncertain how many LNG export terminals will be approved by the Department of Energy

- Even with growing LNG exports, the increase in shale gas production should offset the offshore demand and keep prices stable

- The regulatory environment is not moving quickly and it is unlikely that any ruling will significantly impact prices

The following chart shows the huge increase in shale gas production expected by 2040.

Do you think exporting LNG is good for the US economy?

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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.

 

 

 

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Sep
26
2012
10:47 am

Customer Service Contest Winners Announced

In our last quarterly newsletter, I invited our customers to send in suggestions to our Facebook page, on Twitter and through email to help us improve our customer service. The top three ideas would each be awarded $100 of natural gas for free. We received lots of great entries and we thank all of you that participated in this contest. I’m very pleased to announce that, after much deliberation, we have chosen our three winners!

Congratulations to Vera Clark, Jo-Ellen Catto and Brian Genter on their excellent suggestions!

- Vera suggested we offer the opportunity to donate to those in need through our monthly bills.

- Jo-Ellen would like us to extend more offers and promotions to areas outside Metro Atlanta.

- Brian wants to see more energy saving tips in our customer communications.

We will be taking their ideas and putting them into action over the next few months so keep an eye out! So what’s your favorite suggestion?  Let us know in the comments!

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Sep
20
2012
4:26 pm

How to Prepare for the Heating Season

Last week we talked about what Gas South is doing to help you through this winter. This week, we’d like to give our customers a few tips to assist you in preparing for the heating season.

- Make sure you check your current rate per therm. You can find this information on your bill. If you are on a variable rate, think about switching to a fixed rate plan. Prices usually rise in the fall and winter months when demand increases, and you may save money by locking in a fixed rate now. Find out more about our rate plans here.

- Some houses and businesses only use natural gas for heat and they are our seasonal customers. Seasonal accounts can be turned off during the summer months to prevent being charged taxes and fees when the gas isn’t being used. If you are a seasonal customer, call us now so that we can schedule your service connection before it gets cold.

- If you need your natural gas service turned on, the sooner you call, the less likely you will have to wait. Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) is the company who owns the pipelines that natural gas flows through here in Georgia. AGL is responsible for maintaining the pipelines, turning the gas on or off for customers, and reading meters. When you sign up for natural gas service, we register your account with AGL and let them know they need to turn your service on. AGL has up to five business days to turn on your gas and it may take the entire time when AGL is busy.

We hope these tips help. Call us or visit us online to check on your account or turn on service before it gets too cold. Gas South is BRINGING THE HEAT™ to keep you warm this season!

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Sep
12
2012
3:07 pm

Things Are Cooling Down, So We’re Heating Up

Fall is here and it’s time for back to school, football season and colder temperatures! The coming of the chillier weather also brings Gas South’s busiest time, the heating season. We want to make sure that we are fully prepared to provide you with the best customer service, so we’ve made a few changes which we think will make things easier:

-We have extended our Customer Care Center hours and you can now reach us anytime between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

-We’ve hired additional employees to our local customer care team to handle the increased call volumes we experience around this time of year.

-We’ve updated our online options to help us respond to your emails within 4 business hours.

-We will start offering a live chat option on our website for customers who do not want to call, but have a question on their account.

We hope that these changes will help ease you through the heating season. Don’t forget to make sure your natural gas service is prepared for the coming months. When the temperatures start dropping, we are ready to BRING THE HEAT™!

What’s your favorite part about the changing of the season?

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