When it comes to choosing energy for home use that will save you money, natural gas is the winning choice, and that’s why so many have come to rely on it. From heating your home or bath water to cooking and powering your dryer, natural gas is one of the most efficient ways to power your home—and it’s cleaner than other fuel types, so you’re helping Mother Nature when you use it.
In this week’s blog, we tackle some of the specifics related to the common question: How do I get natural gas?
How To Find if Natural Gas Is Available in My Area
In many states, you can only get natural gas through your local utility company. In others, you have a choice in who delivers your gas, and utility companies in these areas mostly exist to own and maintain the pipelines. Most will list the available third-party natural gas suppliers in your area on their websites.
If your home is already set up for natural gas—meaning there’s already a line and meter installed at your residence—and you’re in a state like Georgia that’s deregulated, your next step is choosing a provider.
Atlanta Gas Light is Georgia’s largest natural gas utility, owning most of the pipelines throughout the state. And like other utility companies in deregulated areas, they provide access to a listing of certified marketers in the state—click here to see a listing of certified natural gas marketers from the State of Georgia Public Service Commission.
From the list, you’ll be able to select a natural gas provider that appeals to you and contact them to make sure they service your particular area. Beyond the price for your natural gas, be sure to check for other discounts certain providers may offer, as well as their customer service rating.
Gas South offers competitive rates and plans, but we also never charge a deposit, which can keep up to $150 in your pocket. We’re also Georgia’s highest-rated provider, and we’re committed to giving 5% of profits to children in need each year.
Setting Up New Utilities (natural gas)
Once you’ve chosen a provider (for deregulated states), getting set up is relatively easy. In Georgia, as we mentioned above, you’ll most likely have Atlanta Gas Light as your utility. But whether you’re setting up brand new service, moving current service to a new location or switching providers, you don’t need to contact Atlanta Gas Light. Reach out to your chosen provider directly, and they’ll get you set up once they’ve determined they serve your area.
At Gas South, you can do this on our website or with a quick phone call with one of our friendly Customer Care representatives. We’ll confirm whether we serve your area, and then, if we do, you can choose a plan that fits your needs.
Once you’ve signed up for a plan, we’ll move forward with setting up service—we can do this for you up to 90 days in advance. You can pick when you’d like to have service turned on, though we typically have to confirm that time with Atlanta Gas Light, as they’re responsible for sending a technician out to perform the gas turn-on at your residence. In some cases, an adult must be present. In others, AGL might request that a key is left to access a property. Either way, we’ll follow up with all the details you need to know.
How To Get Gas in My Home
In many cases involving new construction or homes not currently set up to receive natural gas, there are no issues getting set up for service as long as there’s already some existing natural gas line infrastructure nearby. If nearby lines exist, you’ll want to have a licensed plumber run a line from the existing gas pipes to your home—costs will vary depending on how much pipe is installed and what types of materials are used. And you’ll need to have a meter installed on your home so your utility or provider can measure the amount of natural gas you use. Additionally, you’ll have to have piping run through your home in various places to accommodate the different types of appliances you want to run—HVAC system, hot water heater, gas stove or dryer.
In Georgia, you’ll want to start with Atlanta Gas Light to find out if natural gas is available at your address and what types of requirements they have for service connection—click here for new natural gas connection information. They also have information for new builders, which you can see here.
Each year in the U.S., the competition for entry-level jobs gets tougher and tougher, and it can be a struggle for fresh college graduates to set themselves apart and get their proverbial feet in the door. Fortunately, many companies offer opportunities to help overcome this hurdle in the form of internships. And Gas South is proud to be one of those companies.
Through paid internships that help build real-world working skills, we’re helping shape the future of America’s workforce. And in return, we’re enlivened and inspired each day with the hard work, creativity and enthusiasm our interns bring to the table.
In this week’s blog, in honor of everything interns contribute each year, we’re spotlighting a few of our own on National Intern Day.
Course of Study: Business Administration
School: Georgia State University
Intern Title/Department: HR Intern
Hi, Alaina. How long have you been an intern here and what made you choose Gas South?
I’ve been an intern for a little over two months. I began my internship on May 16, 2022. When searching for an internship, I had two goals in mind: gain experience in the Human Resources field and work for a company that cares about their employees. After researching dozens of internship listings, I found Gas South, which checked all my boxes.
How would you rate your experience here so far? Would you recommend an internship here to friends?
I would rate my experience as five out of five stars. The employees at Gas South are so welcoming and were available any time I had a question or needed additional help. I would recommend this internship to my friends and college classmates. It’s a great opportunity to network, build your resume and gain job experience in a corporate setting.
What have you taken away from the experience? What’s been the best part? What skills have you picked up? What sort of challenges have you faced? Has Gas South better prepared you for the job market?
I’ve learned so much in my short time at Gas South. However, there are two things that stand out the most to me. First, its learning how the different departments work together to maintain the overall operation of the company. Second, I learned how to communicate in a professional and effective way. Communicating with your friends and peers in school is different than communicating with your manager or the CEO of a company. I’m glad I was able to learn new communication skills that I can carry with me. I also enjoyed the volunteerism aspect of the internship. I feel prepared and less afraid as I anticipate my entry into the job market.
What are your future professional plans?
My plan is to begin my career in one of the many functions of HR, where I can continue to grow and develop as a professional.
What do you do for fun when you’re not studying or working for Gas South? Interesting talents? Hobbies? Pets?
I enjoy reading novels, traveling, outdoor activities, going to the movies and spending time with my family and friends.
Course of Study: Economics and Business Administration
School: University of Florida
Intern Title/Department: SRM Analyst Intern
How long have you been an intern here and what made you choose Gas South?
I’ve been an intern with Gas South for just over two months. Prior to the start of my internship, I was fortunate enough to tour the Atlanta office during an excursion hosted by my college’s Beyond120 program. Of all the organizations I visited on this trip, I was most impressed with Gas South. The company’s mission statement and commitment to giving back and the great office culture and welcoming employees were the primary reasons I chose to pursue an internship here. Following a mock interview during my tour, I was given the chance to interview for an internship position. I jumped at the opportunity and was fortunate enough to be chosen to join the team.
How would you rate your experience here so far? Would you recommend an internship here to friends?
I’d certainly recommend an internship with Gas South to friends—and already have. This experience has been amazing so far. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my projects and getting to know my fellow employees. I’ve learned and grown a great deal during my short time with Gas South, and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity.
What have you taken away from the experience? What’s been the best part? What skills have you picked up? What sort of challenges have you faced? Has Gas South better prepared you for the job market?
Prior to this internship, I had little knowledge of what it’s like to work within a company. The transition from schooling to work is a major step, and I felt a bit unprepared to leave the comfort of a classroom and venture into the business world. However, I now feel that I have a strong foundation to make career decisions, rather than a speculative one. From my work, I’ve learned a lot about myself, the natural gas industry and how a large company operates. Additionally, this internship has allowed me to polish some of my previous skills (Excel, Python, professionalism, time management) and learn new ones (how to be a good team member, how to navigate salesforce, Power BI). My favorite part of this internship has been working with my team. Those who I see daily are very intelligent individuals and have been kind and welcoming during my time at Gas South.
What are your future professional plans?
At this point, I don’t have any set-in-stone professional plans. However, I do know that in the short term I want to work with a company that allows me to continue to learn and grow. In the long term, I hope to take the experiences, knowledge and capital that I have gained and start my own business.
What do you do for fun when you’re not studying or working for Gas South? Interesting talents? Hobbies? Pets?
For fun, I like to do anything that involves nature or music. Some of the things I love to do include rock climbing, kayaking, playing piano, longboarding, making beats, reading in a hammock, going to concerts, playing with my cat, hanging out with friends and cooking. Lately, things that let me get out of my comfort zone have been the most fun.
Course of Study: Information Technology with a concentration in Cybersecurity
School: Georgia Southern University
Intern Title/Department: IT Helpdesk Intern in ITPMO
How long have you been an intern here and what made you choose Gas South?
I’ve been an Intern at Gas South since May 16. Before applying to Gas South, I knew very little about the company. I was aware that Infinite Energy Arena, where I attended a concert for one of my favorite artists, suddenly became Gas South District. With that information in mind and the nature and role of this internship position, I thought this experience would be a great opportunity to learn more about what I’ve studied thus far in school.
How would you rate your experience here so far? Would you recommend an internship here to friends?
This has been my very first experience as an intern. I’d have to say it has been a great one with a 10 out of 10 rating. I’d recommend Gas South to friends and colleagues.
What have you taken away from the experience? What’s been the best part? What skills have you picked up? What sort of challenges have you faced? Has Gas South better prepared you for the job market?
The overall experience of the intern program has been great. I love how each internship is tailored to personal and career development goals for all of us. It’s given me valuable insight into discovering where and who I want to be in my professional career. Of all the training sessions we’ve had, Emotional Intelligence was my favorite. I’ve been on my own path of personal development for some time now and these additional resources to help has been the best part of my experience. I’ve applied these same resources in working through challenges relevant to my job duties. I can communicate better and gauge when I don’t feel comfortable in challenging situations.
What are your future professional plans?
As I begin my career in IT, I’d like to work in a help desk or tech support role to learn more about the software, hardware and troubleshooting methodologies. Once I feel comfortable in that position, I would like to continue in Cybersecurity or Network Administration.
What do you do for fun when you’re not studying or working for Gas South? Interesting talents? Hobbies? Pets?
I like to do outside activities most of the time. I enjoy hiking, and I’m now getting into gardening. I also enjoy yoga and meditation or just going for long drives admiring the sky and clouds and surrounding trees. It’s just aesthetically pleasing being outside.
As a company that strives to “Be A Fuel For Good,” we feel it’s important to pay interns a competitive wage and provide them with new skills and real-world work experience—and we want them feel like part of the Gas South family. If you or someone you know is looking for a rewarding internship with Georgia’s highest-rated natural gas provider, check out our careers page for the latest opportunities we may have posted.
With all the hustle and bustle of modern life, we know managing your natural gas account is one of the last things you have time to deal with. That’s why we’re happy to offer easy solutions to help simplify your busy lifestyle. If you haven’t already, take a look at some of the convenient options and services we offer—they’ll give you more time to focus on what matters most.
Switch to our OnePrice Plan™.
No one likes surprises on their natural gas bill, and that’s become even more of a home budgeting factor these days with the unpredictability of U.S. natural gas prices and the ever-present threat of cold weather each winter.
With OnePrice Plan, available in 12-and 24-month plans, you pay one flat, monthly payment, making it easy to set it and forget it. Tailored to your household’s needs, OnePrice Plan lets you gain peace of mind knowing you’ll pay the same amount regardless of usage with no settlements or true-ups. That’s one price. Every month. Every season.
Manage your account online.
Gas South makes it simple to manage your account with our online account services. Registering is quick and easy, and you’ll just need your account number to get started. Once you’re set, you’ll be able to see your gas bill online, renew your plan and more, 24/7.
Download the Gas South Mobile App
The Gas South mobile app gives you the flexibility to manage your account from anywhere, anytime. It’s easy, secure and gives you full functionality. Just visit Google Play or the app store and search “Gas South” to download the app.
Sign up for alerts and Auto-Pay.
Through your online account, you can sign up for text and email alerts about your account and other important notices. And you can even sign up for Auto-Pay while you’re there. With Auto-Pay, we’ll process your natural gas bill for you each month, so you never have to worry about missing a payment.
Paperless billing is another great option to save time and a little money. You won’t have to worry about increasingly slow USPS delivery times when it comes to your gas bill. You can save those stamps and envelopes for your holiday cards.
Plus, a paperless statement is a great way to go green. It cuts down on the number of trees that ultimately end up in landfills—about 1 billion trees worth of paper each year in the U.S. And it helps reduce the energy used to produce paper and helps curb harmful emissions pumped into the air from paper mills.
Learn more about our Solutions for Sustainability and our commitment to help persevere the future of the planet.
No one disagrees that moving is stressful. Packing boxes, harassing friends for help, renting U-hauls, scheduling service technicians, all those change-of-address forms…and that’s only phase one of the process.
Maybe you can relate to this experience? If so, you’ll remember how big the "little things" were when setting up a new home. At Gas South, we understand what a hassle moving can be, so we make it easy for customers to transfer their natural gas service and help you save!
Turning on Service in Your New Home
Not a Gas South customer yet? It’s quick, free and easy, and you’ll be able to manage your account 24/7 with the touch of a button. Or give us a call and one of our friendly Customer Care representatives will help schedule your transfer.
We’ll check to see if we can serve you at your new location, and can easily transfer your natural gas service helping you avoid any cancellation fee and a costly deposit (which saves you hundreds of dollars).
Once we’ve checked to make sure your new location is in our service area, we’ll schedule your transfer and help you avoid any cancellation fees or costly deposits—both of which can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings. And to make things even easier, we can schedule your natural gas turn-on at your new address up to 90 days in advance of your move!
Switching From Another Provider or Setting Up New Service
If you’re looking for a different kind of natural gas company for your new home, your search is over. From locking in a stable fixed rate to paying one flat, monthly payment with our OnePrice Plan™, we’ve got an easy option to fit the needs of your home.
And whether you’re switching from another company or setting up new service, there’s never a deposit, which can keep up to $150 in your pocket when you join Gas South—Georgia’s highest-rated provider.
Plus, Gas South goes beyond great plans and top-rated customer care. We want to make a difference in the communities we serve. So, each year, we’ve committed to giving 5% of profits to support children in need. It’s just one of the ways we strive to "Be A Fuel For Good." And as a Gas South customer, you’re part of that.
Saving You Money When You Move
Get $50 in bill credits.
With all the planning and stress that can come with a move, there’s also the fact that it can be expensive. To help with that, you’ll get a $50 bill credit whether you’re new to Gas South or transferring current service.
Save on movers.
As a Gas South customer, you can also save on moving services with our partner Atlanta Peach Movers—a 5% discount on your move anywhere in the U.S.
Set up other services all at once.
To cut down on the other headaches often associated with moving, our home service connection partner Allconnect is your one-stop shop for helping set up Internet, phone and cable services at your new home. As an added bonus when you choose Allconnect through Gas South, you’ll also get exclusive discounts with Home Depot, Overstock.com and Amazon.
Getting Ready to Move
The easiest way to improve your move is to stay organized, and we create a handy moving checklist to help you do just that. It’s printable so you can keep it in a central place in your home and keep yourself on track up to the big day.
And when your move is just around the corner, check out our five best tips to hack your move. From genius ways to upgrade your boxes to a first night survival kit, we have put together how-to videos that will save you time (and save your back).
So, remember, it’s easy to transfer or start your natural gas service with us. We’re here to answer any questions you may have – and we’re ready to move when you are!
Although it only became an official federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth is considered the longest-running African American holiday in the U.S., honored each year since 1866 to commemorate the end of slavery.
Slavery was officially abolished by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation, but it continued in parts of Texas for more than two years afterward. The arrival of federal troops there to deliver an official decree on June 19 (Juneteenth), 1865, ended that practice. And we’ve been celebrating ever since.
This year, in addition to time off Monday, June 20, for employees to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday that happened on Sunday, we invited acclaimed Atlanta storyteller and author Donna Kokumo Buie (better known as Mama Koku) to share her spirited account of the African American journey to freedom with all of us here at Gas South.
“These stories are meant to keep us aware … to keep us learning and growing as humanity,” Mama Koku said at the beginning of her presentation, standing in African garb and swaying to the beat of drums in front of a camera that sent her message out virtually.
The people of Africa—healers, farmers, scientists, teachers and more—were forced to come to these new shores against their will, she said. And throughout hundreds of years of brutality and oppression working to “raise up this new land,” they persisted. They told their own stories, she said. They persevered, always whispering words of freedom until those whisperings grew into a voice so loud it could no longer go unheard—even, eventually, in Texas.
These days, “people are evolving,” she said. “White, Black, Brown, Red … all colors of folk are coming together. Juneteenth, yeah, it’s about the black thing, but it’s also about us. All of us. It’s about freedom. And there’s still much to do.”
After Mama Koku’s presentation, we caught up with some of the folks here at Gas South about the day’s event.
“Today's presentation was great,” said Brianna B. “I enjoyed the energy the speaker portrayed to the audience, and she gave us an opportunity to participate. This storytelling experience was important because it was educational and provided us with a little history of African Americans and how they became free.”
Betsy S. said, “Embracing Juneteenth as a holiday and learning the history of it is important in taking ownership of our country's dark history, which will make strides toward a more healing environment. I enjoyed the presenter's energy and the manner in which she presented the information.”
"I love the idea of storytelling and sharing the history of why we all should celebrate Juneteenth,” said Tonia P. “Being open to understanding the experiences of others is important to our own growth—learning from the inequities of our history so we can look back and say we have evolved into different people, more empathetic, loving and focused on true equality for all.”
Aisha D., Gas South’s Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, helped organize the event.
“I really enjoyed Mama Koku’s ability to engage with people,” Aisha said. “And I loved the African music she played, the way she dressed and the set pieces she incorporated at the end. I felt like I was watching a play.”
“It’s important for Gas South to celebrate Juneteenth because it fits in with our mission to ‘Be A Fuel For Good,” she said, adding that presenting opportunities to learn and take part helps build and maintain trust. “This story of Juneteenth can bring us together, and I appreciate coming into a space where people are willing to learn more about each other. And Gas South is all about that. In general, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion isn’t easy, but the culture here is very collaborative and supportive, and that makes my work a lot easier.”
Thanks for reading along. We hope you had a happy Juneteenth this year. Be sure to stay tuned for more blogs on some of the great things we’re taking part in here at Gas South, where we strive to "Be A Fuel For Good."
From the crystalline blue waters of Antigua, Cuba and the Bahamas to the warm sandy beaches of Jamaica, St. Lucia and Haiti, the Caribbean makes up an important area of the world. Each of its 13 countries and territories is full of distinctly rich cultures, histories and traditions. So, as we continue to celebrate diversity here at Gas South—and throughout the world—we wanted to use June, which salutes Caribbean American heritage, as another opportunity to spotlight one of our many talented employees. In this week’s blog, we’re featuring Gas South’s Harli G. and her Haitian heritage in honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month.
Harli, tell us a little about your background? Where are you from? What did you study in college and why?
I was actually born and raised in Montreal, Canada, and my parents are Haitian. I grew up speaking French and Creole and didn’t learn English until I moved to the states at the age of 13. It wasn’t until I got to college that I truly started to advocate for and really represent and demonstrate a sense of pride for the Haitian culture. There, as I began interacting with individuals from all walks of life, I began to gain an appreciation for diversity. I attended Alabama State University on a full track scholarship. ASU is an HBCU (Historically Black College and University). Engagement and connection have always been part of my DNA, which is why it may not come as a surprise that my major in school was public relations.
Can you tell me a little about your role here at Gas South?
I’m a Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP). To break it down, I support various departments in providing HR support. On any given day, I could be partnering with managers on employee relations, performance management, organization structure, strategy, workforce planning or engagement, to name a few. HRBPs are the bridges that connect the employer with the employee.
What aspects do you enjoy most about your job and about working here?
The impact! To know that in my role I not only help employees professionally but also personally is the part of my job that I enjoy the most. It’s so rewarding to have the opportunity to be a part of their journey.
What does Caribbean American Heritage Month mean to you? And from your perspective, what does it mean for Gas South?
To me, it means celebrating a group of people and a culture that’s rich in so many ways. From the food (griot, soup joumou, banan peze), traditions (Carnival), music (Konpa) and language (a mixture of French, Spanish and Portuguese) to the proud heritage of a small but strong people, I couldn’t be prouder to call myself Haitian.
From the Gas South perspective, it means we truly welcome people from all walks of life and encourage them to be their true, authentic selves at work. It means we get to bring different experiences and perspectives to the table. We get to be a truly diverse workforce.
What’s the one accomplishment you’re most proud of since you started here? Why?
Just my journey overall. I have been able to grow in so many ways since the first day I started at Gas South seven years ago. I started as a coordinator where I facilitated new hire orientation for about six years. I had the opportunity to be the first person that new hires engaged with when they came onboard to Gas South—that first impression. I’m really proud of that.
How has Gas South helped you develop in your career?
Wow, where do I start? There have been so many things. From the continuing education and getting my SHRM certification to internal opportunities or the buy-in of my leadership team who continuously pushes me beyond my comfort zone and holds me accountable, Gas South has enabled me to grow not only professionally but in my personal life.
Any advice for young Caribbean Americans starting their careers?
Be open. Be open to learn and to teach others. And it’s important how you show up, and don’t apologize for who you are. It’s what makes you you.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not at work—family, hobbies or hidden talents?
This may come as a surprise to everyone, but I like to work out. It’s one of my favorite hobbies in between taking my minions to gymnastics, swimming, football or track—keeping up with kids is a full-time job.
What Caribbean traditions or customs do you incorporate in your daily life or even professional life?
A big part of the Caribbean culture involves food, cooking traditional Haitian dishes for my family such as soup joumou or diri a djonjon (translates to mushroom rice). The soup joumou is cooked and consumed as the very first meal of the year. It symbolizes Haitian independence. Music is very prevalent in our culture as well. I try to expose my kids to as much of it as possible. I have dance parties with my kids, and they are so much fun.
Thanks for reading our blog, and stay tuned in the months ahead as we continue to spotlight the many cultures and backgrounds that make Gas South such a great place to work.
Each year, May celebrates the accomplishments and contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our fine nation. And as a company that recognizes the strengths that comes with diversity, we’re proud to take part in that celebration.
In this week’s blog, we caught up with our own Kevin M., who’s been working at Gas South as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion coordinator for a little over a year. Kevin is Filipino American, so we wanted to get his insight on the importance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Hi, Kevin. Thanks for sitting down with us. Can you tell us a little more about your background and family heritage?
Definitely. I was born and raised in metro-Atlanta, but my parents are from the Philippines. Thus, I’m Filipino American. Filipinos have a distinct Asian background, with a strong Western tradition. The modern Filipino culture developed through influence from Chinese traders, Spanish Conquistadors and American rulers. Because of our strong connection to Spanish culture, Filipinos are emotional and passionate about people in a way that leans a little more Latin than Asian. It’s kind of cool because we’re the best of both worlds.
From your perspective, why is it important to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month as a nation? What are the things you hope people take away from the experience?
Well, it’s always important to recognize and embrace those who are different from you because we live in a global community. But for AAPI month specifically, it’s imperative that we not only celebrate this month but recognize the unique struggles Asian Americans face in this country. From familiar issues like the bamboo ceiling and the model minority myth to more recent issues, like blame for the pandemic, AAPI month gives us the opportunity to debunk these misconceptions and shed light on truth.
With your heritage and job as one of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) coordinators, you’re especially qualified to talk about why this month is important to Gas South as a company. What are your thoughts?
While I’m honored to talk about my culture, I also recognize that I can’t speak about every Asian culture in existence. There’s also a group that can be overlooked during this month: Pacific Islanders. People of Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian, New Zealand, etc. descent. My point is that I’m also learning as well and that I also benefit from cultural months like these.
Is Gas South’s reputation as a diverse, equitable and inclusive employer what attracted you to working here? And how are we living up to our reputation? What are Gas South’s strengths? And what are the challenges we have in front of us?
What really attracted me to Gas South was their openness and willingness to have a whole team dedicated to DEI. I loved the idea of being on the ground floor in strategizing ways we can move the company forward in ensuring equity, whether through internal initiatives or external partnerships. I
would say that Gas South is at the ‘Emerging’ phase of our journey – meaning we’re still in the process of creating baseline foundations to promote equity and inclusion standards. Our strength lies in the fact that we’re always looking to be better. If we keep that mindset, we’ll be one step ahead of other companies in this industry.
You came up with a great idea for employees to take part in recently—the National Treasure AAPI Contest. Tell us a little more about it and how it helps others take part in and celebrate AAPI month.
Sure. This contest is derived from a real-life treasure hunt based on a book called “The Secret.” In essence, employees analyze a painting from the book and answer questions based on it. The painting happens to be connected to the AAPI community so I thought this contest would be a fun way to engage audiences while learning some trivia about the community.
How have employees responded to the contest?
We’ve gotten a pretty high response rate so far! So, at the very least, our employees are engaged.
What are some of your personal favorite Filipino cultural traditions? And what about other aspects of the culture—food, music, art, language, dance, literature? What do you love most about your heritage?
To name a few, I would say Group Karaoke, ‘Eat, Drink, Repeat’ mindset at parties, and Four-month Christmas (The Philippines doesn’t celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving, so the lead-up/prep for Christmas starts in September). As for food, right now, my favorite is egg rolls. For the rest like music, art, books, etc. – don’t really have a favorite. What I love most about my heritage is that it’s very family-oriented with an appreciation for performing arts, fashion, music and food.
As part of what it means to “Be A Fuel For Good” at Gas South, we’re honored to highlight the diversity that makes this company great. Stay tuned for future blogs that spotlight our talented employees as we pay homage to different cultural heritage celebrations throughout the year.
With the spring season’s new growth and the cold weather behind us, April is a time to rejoice in the natural splendor of Mother Nature. And holidays like Earth Day, April 22, and National Arbor Day, April 29, are here to help remind us about the importance of protecting our planet.
Conserving energy is one of the best ways to do that—and it doesn’t hurt that it can often save you money in the process. This week, in a salute to conservation, we’re sharing a few easy ways for you to help the planet with five spring energy savings devices for your home.
Smart Plugs and Power Strips
These energy-saving devices conserve energy by cutting off power to devices when not in use. Items such as computers, monitors, TVs and printers, for example, continue to suck electricity in standby mode, even when you’re not actively using them. Smart plugs and power strips are an easy solution to these energy vampires. They’re programmable, letting you determine turn-off times at set hours, and some even let you control them remotely with a single press of a button and monitor electricity usage. Here are some we like:
Energy Efficient Showerheads
Installing energy efficient shower heads is a great way to help conserve energy at home. You’ll save by using less water and, if you’ve got an electric water heater, the amount of energy you’re using to keep showering comfortable. Here are a couple of our choices:
Whether you’re looking to light a darkened foot path or need more light for a little late-night reading, solar-powered lighting is the energy-saving way to go. Check these brands out:
With so many devices that need to be charged these days, purchasing a solar-powered charger is an easy way to cut down on your energy expenses. And you can take them with you when you’re on the go, so you can stay charged anywhere. Here are some options to get you started:
- Kudo Solar Case (for iPads)
- BigBlue Solar Charger
- Hilucky Outdoor Portable Solar Bank
- Blavor Qi Solar Power Bank
Smart Irrigation Controllers
If you’re a homeowner in this warmer weather, you’re likely looking for more efficient ways to take care of your thirsty yard. Programmable smart irrigation systems can make it easy. Many will monitor the moisture content in your yard and landscaping and automatically adjust to water at optimum levels—helping you conserve this precious resource while maintaining the prettiest yard on the block. Here are three highly rated smart irrigation systems:
- Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controllers
- Orbit Indoor/Outdoor Smart Sprinkler Controller
- Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller
At Gas South, we strive to “Be A Fuel For Good.” And part of that mission is to help preserve the planet for future generations. That’s why we’ve committed to investing over $50 million to solar projects by the end of 2023. And it’s why we offer options like paperless billing to help you save trees, keep the air cleaner and cut down on the amount of paper waste that ends up in landfills. Caring for the planet is just one of the ways Gas South makes a difference. And the difference is good.
At Gas South, we pride ourselves on being a different kind of natural gas company. Our mission to “Be A Fuel For Good” means more than just offering everyday low rates and excellent customer care. It means we also strive to make a difference for our employees and in the communities we serve.
At the beginning of each New Year, we put a report together to highlight some of the good we were able to do throughout the year previous—our annual impact reports. In this week’s blog, we’ll highlight some of our efforts detailed in that report that made 2021 another great year of giving.
In total, we gave more than $1.5 million as part of our commitment to give 5% of profits to children in need each year—a promise we officially began in 2017. Our total charitable donations since we were founded in 2006 now come to more than $9 million.
In Georgia and Florida last year—our two biggest service areas—we gave $598,581 to help with basic needs in the community, $575,888 to childhood education and $295,984 to illness and disability, as well as more than $39,000 for in-kind donations and volunteering efforts.
We also logged more than 391 hours of volunteering in the community at 21 different charitable events. At Gas South, we know volunteering is important to help build strong communities, but it also helps engage employees and build a culture of giving that we can all take part in. To facilitate this engagement, we also offer employees eight hours of paid volunteer time each year.
To build on that engagement even more, 2021 was also the beginning of our Team Grants. These are volunteer projects planned by employees and funded by Gas South. Team Grants give all of us a say in how we want to “Be A Fuel For Good” here at Gas South.
And our efforts to build a strong work culture didn’t go unnoticed, as we were once again named as an Atlanta Journal Constitution Top Workplace. The recognition—ranking 52nd for midsize Georgia businesses—was officially bestowed in early March, but it was based on anonymous employee surveys taken during 2021 from thousands of companies throughout the state. This marks the fifth time we’ve been recognized as one of the best places to work in Georgia. And we’re all proud that our employees continue to find fulfillment and purpose in their jobs here.
2021 was also the first full year that we served as the naming rights partner of Gas South District. This was formally Infinite Energy Center, which Gas South took over near the end of 2020 (and soon renamed) when we acquired Florida-based energy provider Infinite Energy. This premier entertainment destination that includes Gas South Arena, Gas South Convention Center and the Gas South theater, serves as one more way we can continue to engage and support the community, and we’re excited about the opportunities it presents in 2022.
The year ahead looks to be promising in our efforts to make a difference—we’re even boosting last year’s give of $1.5 million to about $3 million. That will do a lot of good. And if you’re a customer with Gas South, we’re glad you get to be a part of that. Here’s to another great year of giving.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and work toward women’s equality. At Gas South, we take great pride in our own ongoing efforts to support diversity, equity and inclusion. So, to highlight one of the ways we do that, we sat down this week with our own Meredith Hodges, of Gas South Government Affairs, to learn more about how we’re making a difference with our Women’s Networking Circle.
Hi, Meredith. Can you tell me about Gas South’s Women’s Networking Circle—when it was started and why?
We kicked it off on November 17, 2016, with wine, cheese and a panel discussion addressing “elephants in the room." At that time, there were four women leaders at Gas South—Manon Brochu (Chief Operating Officer), Secret Holland (VP of HR and Community Affairs), Staci Parker (former Director of Sales) and me (former VP of HR & External Affairs)—who wanted to bring women together on a quarterly basis to network, hear from guest speakers and to discuss important topics.
The “elephant” concept was that each woman writes down the “elephant in the room” that we, as the female leaders in our company, need to know about. Topics could include pay, promotions, etc.
How is it organized, and what types of topics are discussed?
We generally mix up external speakers with presentations and discussions with internal leaders. That formula has pretty much remained the case since the beginning, though lately we’ve been doing more panel discussions. Over the years, we’ve also added events focused on networking and fun stuff.
In 2018, we started surveying women to determine what they wanted in events. Topics have stayed relatively consistent: communicating value, diversity, imposter syndrome, personal branding, balance and burnout. The following year, we started the Women’s Networking Committee. Carley Stephens, our Manager of Community Affairs, currently chairs the committee—she was also instrumental in coordinating early meetings and has been a great leader and advocate for women at Gas South.
During COVID, we experimented with virtual social events—discussions, painting classes, movie nights, etc. We continue to build on that by trying to provide variety to women. Not everyone wants to hear a speaker. One woman might want the time to network with others outside her department, and another might value the random Starbuck’s discounts we offer. Each woman is in a different place in her life and career, so you need the variety to ensure more touchpoints. It’s OK that people don’t participate in everything. Our hope, though, is that each woman connects at least once during the year.
What’s your role with the group? Has there been a particular meeting that stood out to you, and why?
I did one of the first presentations on generational differences—it piggy backed onto a presentation here by author Grace Killelea about personal branding, generational differences and about her writing. I’ve always thought it was fascinating to learn how age groups end up with so much in common.
Writing my presentation, I discovered things about my own generation. "Drinking the Kool-Aid," for example, is something you’re apt to hear from Gen Xers, but I didn’t realize it was in relation to the Jim Jones mass murder in Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978, in which the leader laced Kool-Aid with cyanide, killing over 900 members of the Peoples Temple movement.
I was, however, most affected by our Millennials sharing their “normal” of school drills in case of shooters. That wasn’t in my realm of experience, having gone to school before that new normal. It certainly gave me a lot of pause and better insight into the Millennial psyche. My daughter is a Gen Z, so I’d never contemplated what these women worried about as kids.
I also really enjoyed facilitating a panel discussion of Gas South women leaders last year. We talked about career development and how to move up in the company. We had a great turnout for that event, and it was so much fun encouraging the dialogue between speakers.
Sounds like the Women’s Networking Circle has been popular at Gas South. Any interesting stories or testimonials you could share? What do attendees say? What do you say?
We’ve gotten great participation in the events over the years and a good number of responses from our annual surveys. People like the variety, the speakers, content and giveaways—especially the Starbucks credits to women who’ve been nominated by peers for doing something meaningful.
I’ll read a couple of quotes from our annual survey that was completed recently:
“You all have done a phenomenal job over the pandemic. Super high engagement, lots of love. Just impressed.” —Betsy S.
“This is a unique committee that I have never seen in a workplace. It is a treasure! Thank you for all the thoughts and hard work that goes behind it.” —Rosemary H.
It certainly takes a team to make this work with all the time it takes to plan and execute events. I’ve really appreciated getting to know other women on the team. It’s been particularly nice to have former Infinite Energy women included in the 2022 Women’s Networking Circle (Gas South acquired Florida-based natural gas provider Infinite Energy in December 2020.)
I’m one of the few Gas South “originals” here since day one—and formerly with Southern Company. It’s been fun to watch the company grow and change over the years. Having affinity groups like the Women’s Networking Circle is becoming more of a need as the employee base grows—going from 60 women at Gas South when the network was started in 2016 to 229 today. You need vehicles for people to connect and get to know each other outside their work team.
What are some of the challenges (if any) that you’ve come across with the Women’s Networking Circle?
The biggest challenge is the time it takes to plan and execute events, write communications and generate engagement. Everyone has a lot on their plate, so all the work you see is a result of women carving out time during and outside office hours to make our offerings successful.
COVID has been a challenge as well. It used to be so easy to have drinks after work set up in the Woo-Hoo Room (so named for an old Gas South ad campaign) and women to show up and participate. We’ve been creative in devising alternatives, but I’m hoping soon we’ll be able to mix up in-person and virtual.
With this last survey, we collected information on living locations and hobbies so we could encourage smaller get-togethers (we have employees throughout the Atlanta area and in Gainesville, Florida). That might look like the women in Acworth getting together for coffee or for a virtual book club or fitness enthusiasts working out together in Gainesville. I’m excited to see how we can facilitate more engagements throughout the year.
What are the future plans for the group?
We’re planning quarterly touchpoints from each of our subcommittees to create variety and increase the likelihood of participation. Women might not be able to take part in something this month because of their workload, but perhaps that will be different in a few months.
Additionally, our Professional Development Subcommittee is spearheading efforts to design out-of-the-box training for our Customer Care representatives interested in becoming more qualified for specialist and coordinator roles.
As we come to the end of Black History Month, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on what this time means to us as a company. Gas South has always celebrated diversity, in our own workplace culture, in the communities we serve and throughout the nation. And that’s because we know there’s value in honoring the strengths that make us who we are, collectively. Recognizing the sacrifices, contributions and achievements of Black America is an essential part of the Gas South vision.
Along with that, we’re also proud to help support Black-led non-profit groups with annual donations and volunteer hours. And we’re excited to have formed strong partnerships with Black-owned businesses. Below, you’ll find a few Georgia establishments we’ve been lucky to work with in the last year:
Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta.
Girls Inc. was founded in 1864 in the wake of the Civil War. Headquartered in New York, this national organization advocates on behalf of girls and brings them life-changing programs and experiences. Each year, the Atlanta chapter serves about 500 girls ages 5 to 18, helping them discover their value and strengths and providing support to face challenges ahead. Click here to learn more about this important organization.
100 Black Men of Atlanta.
Headquartered in Atlanta, 100 Black Men has roots that stretch back to 1963, though it was officially established as a national organization in 1986. Today, through its efforts to mentor, educate and provide health and wellness and economic empowerment to children, it’s recognized as the nation’s top mentoring organization led by African Americans. Click here to learn more about the positive impact of 100 Black Men.
Officially opening its doors in 2019, Popbar Alpharetta offers one-of-a-kind, hand-made gelato pops on a stick. If you’re looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, Popbar has 60 plus flavors on the menu—and you can also customize. They even offer vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and Kosher options.
“We wanted to create a place in the community we can all gather to celebrate life's moments, large and small,” says owner Charel Palmer. “Dessert is a unifier, and we believe we all have far more in common than not.”
Popbar Alpharetta is located at 6710 Town Square, Suite 130. They can be reached at 470.294.2910, and you can read more about the company, view their menu and order online at pop-bar.com.
Not As Famous Cookie Company—in Smyrna.
As an artisan bakery on wheels, Not As Famous Cookie Company creates fresh-baked and hand-made gourmet products with only the finest of ingredients: “Hence, the company will make a better cookie!” The Smyrna bakery is located at 1080 Windy Hill Rd. SE #300—in the Shops at Belmont. They can be reached at 678.293.5588, and you can read more about the company, view their menu and order online at notasfamous.com.
We hope you’ll take the time—as a patron, volunteer or customer—to check out some or all of the establishments we’ve highlighted above. And all of us here at Gas South will continue to do our part to “Be A Fuel For Good.”
In recognition of Black History Month, we caught up with 100 Black Men of Atlanta Executive Director and COO Louis Negron this week to get his perspective on this important annual celebration.
Headquartered in Atlanta, 100 Black Men is a national organization that supports challenged communities through programs designed to positively impact childhood education, public policy and matters related to economic, social and health issues. Gas South has been fortunate to work with and help support this organization during the last year, and we were excited to talk with Louis about Black History Month.
What brought you to 100 Black Men?
I was called to 100 Black Men. I had unfinished business since leaving Atlanta in 2017, and I wanted to come back and invest my gifts and talents in the children and families here.
How long have you been with the organization, and what would you say is the most rewarding aspect of being in your role?
I’ve been with the organization for a year. Seeing the impact we’re making in the lives of the children and families we work with is the most rewarding aspect. But also rebranding “100” as the premier volunteer mentor and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) organization in Atlanta has been rewarding to me.
From your perspective, why is Black History Month important? What do you consider to be the bigger ideas Americans should focus on during this time each year?
Black History Month is important because it allows the nation and world to focus on the amazing contributions of our ancestors to America and the global culture we influence. Black history can’t be held to just one month—it’s a continual celebration.
I’d love to see America focus on healing from its ills of racism and to grow in love. I quote Howard Thurman: “In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whispers of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.”
Several other countries also celebrate Black History Month. What are your thoughts on the importance of this?
The African Diaspora is a collection of many communities that have a tie to African ancestors, and it’s important we celebrate and embrace our culture and contributions to this world.
Who are your personal top-three, most-revered Black men or women in American History?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, aka Malik el-Shabazz, and my enslaved African ancestors who endured so much for me to be here today.
As the birthplace of Dr. King, do you feel Atlanta has a unique role or voice in leading the advancement and empowerment of Black Americans?
I believe Atlanta influences everything. And as the birthplace of Dr. King, our city has a major role in leading a social, spiritual and economic venue for people of color.
Any new upcoming projects or initiatives you'd like to mention going on with 100 Black Men?
We’re growing our STEM/STEAM Robotics and Coding programming for our children and families. We’ve also partnered with Google to offer digital literacy for parents and adults. And we’re leading the way to bridge Black and Brown communities with our diversity dialogues.
As a company that strives to “Be A Fuel For Good,” Gas South is proud to help support difference makers like 100 Black Men of Atlanta. Click here to read more about this organization and its efforts.
Let’s face it. We’ve all been spending more time at home and indoors the last couple of years. And most of us log even more hours as homebodies when the winter winds pick up. Sure, there’s more time to fix squeaky doors and remove dust from bookshelves. But we’re all consuming more energy in the process, which means less money in our pockets. So, with that in mind, here are six ways to save on your energy and natural gas bill this winter.
Keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape
While it’s a good idea to have your HVAC inspected once a year (faulty systems can be dangerous and expensive once they break down), there are several simple things you can do yourself to make sure it’s running smoothly and efficiently.
- Change or clean your air filters. This needs to be done at least every three months. If not, dust and debris can build up and cause problems. Parts can wear out due to the strain. Your energy use will go up. Your home won’t get as warm, and air quality will go down.
- Keep your vents clear. HVAC vents can be located in ceilings, walls or floors. You’ll want to make sure none are blocked by curtains, rugs, furniture or other objects. When air is prevented from moving freely, it causes your system to work harder than it should and often keeps temperatures from being distributed evenly throughout your home.
- Check for leaks in your ductwork. If possible, try to check the ductwork in your attic, crawlspace or basement while the heat is running to see if there are any signs of leaks. Duct joints, where two ducts meet, are common areas where leaks occur. Use your hand to check for escaping air near the joints or seams. If you find a leak, duct tape is a good solution in a pinch, but it’s a good idea to have a technician come out to perform a more permanent fix.
Seal your home’s warmth in
In the U.S., air leakage can account for up to 40% of the energy used to heat (and cool) the average home. Sealing any leaks you might have means you’ll save money, increase comfort levels for you and your family and reduce issues related to cold-weather condensation that can damage your home—when warm air escapes and mixes with cool air inside your walls and attic. In most cases, the cost to seal those leaks is relatively inexpensive compared to what you might lose otherwise.
Common problem areas where heat can escape include windows, doors, attic hatches, edges around dryer vents, HVAC send and return vents, recessed lighting, fixtures, light switches and outlets. Leaks are sometimes obvious—perhaps you feel a draft near a window or notice one room is drastically cooler than another. Others, streaming warm air into your walls and attic, might not be so apparent. Fortunately, there are DIY methods to find leaks—some as easy as lighting a stick of incense and watching the trail of smoke as it drifts near or away from a suspected problem area. Click here for more information about how to check for leaks. Or you can call in a professional energy auditor who can help you determine where leaks might be.
Once you know where the problems are, it’s often relatively easy to resolve the issues. Any home supply store will have the necessary caulks, foams, weatherstripping, gaskets and door sweeps you might need. Click here for a helpful article on sealing leaks.
Insulate your windows
If you’ve got single-pane windows, taking steps to seal around the edges with caulking or new weatherstripping may not be enough to keep the cold at bay. If you’re not looking to make the investment in new, more energy-efficient double- or triple-pane windows—or maybe you can’t because you’re a renter—then consider purchasing one or more of the many types of window coverings available on the market.
From insulated shades and curtains, window quilts and films to exterior shutters, awnings and storm windows, you’ve got lots of options that can increase the insulating capacity of your windows. Click here for a helpful article on some of these options.
Choose a fixed rate for your natural gas
The natural gas market is hard to predict, and prices have been trending upward everywhere this season, which can be expensive if you’re using natural gas to heat your home.
Gas South can ease that burden with a low fixed rate that keeps your bill stable and secure. Sign up now online or over the phone and lock in a rate for 12 or 24 months. Joining is quick and easy, and we’ll handle all the details to get you set up. Plus, we never charge a deposit—keeping up to $150 in your pocket.
Or try Gas South’s OnePrice Plan™. It’s one flat, monthly payment that makes paying your bill simple and straightforward—also available in 12- or 24-month plans. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing you’ll pay the same amount every month regardless of usage.
Adjust your water heater
It’s tempting to turn the temperature on your water heater up in the winter, but we suggest turning it down a little—even a degree or two can make a difference in the amount of energy it’s using to heat water. If yours is set at the 140-degree mark the factory sent it out at when it was new, try bumping it down to 120 degrees—most water heaters have a dial that can easily be turned up or down. This can typically mean a cost savings of between 6% and 10%, and 120 degrees still feels warm.
Additionally, if your tank runs on electricity, consider insulating it to help preserve the warmth it produces. Extra insulation does little for gas-heated tanks, but it can cut heat loss by up to 45% in some cases for electrically heated models. This can save you big on your energy consumption—up to 16%, according to experts.
Several manufacturers sell pre-cut water heater jackets or blankets, which can be purchased for as little as $20 at your local home supply store. Just be sure to check with your local utility and municipal codes department. Some have special regulations for insulating water heater tanks.
Turn your thermostat down
We saved the most-obvious energy saver for last: adjusting your thermostat. It’s a decades-old solution touted everywhere—and for good reason. On average, most save about 1% on their energy bill for every degree they turn their thermostats down, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That can add up to big savings fast. You can adjust it manually, or, if you don’t already have one, purchase a smart thermostat that’s designed to help save you money by automatically adjusting the temperature when you’re gone or asleep at night—when you’re less likely to notice a slight drop.
You can also try wearing warmer clothes inside if you’d like the temperatures to be lower during the waking hours. Or try using a space heater in rooms where you or your family gather most. Experts recommend turning your thermostat down by at least 5 degrees to offset the use of a space heater so you can save money.
Gas South prides itself on being a company that makes a difference. Each year, as part of our commitment to give 5% of profits to help children in need, we give hundreds of thousands of dollars to various organizations in the communities we serve. And we’ve logged thousands of volunteer hours with these groups. We know giving back is the best way to build a better world, and there are lots of ways to do that.
This year, in honor of Giving Tuesday, we thought it would be fun to share six simple ways that anyone can give back. We hope they help inspire the giving side of your nature.
Look out for your neighbors.
It’s often said that good fences make good neighbors, but lending a hand works even better. Does a neighbor of yours need help with yard work or picking up groceries? Or perhaps they could use a babysitter for a few hours or help walking their dog. Maybe they just need a good home-cooked meal. Take a few moments out of your day to check in with them. Even if they don’t need any help, your offer alone will make a difference.
Practice random acts of kindness.
Each day, there are lots of opportunities to do nice things, even for people you don’t know. Next time you’re at a drive thru window picking up a meal, consider paying for the meal of the customers in line behind you. Kindness is infectious, and it’s likely that person will go on to do something nice for some other person later that day.
Put in the time.
Your time is one of the most valuable things you have to offer. And no matter where you are, there’s no shortage of organizations that need volunteers—there are even opportunities to volunteer remotely, if that’s more your speed. If you need a little help getting started, check out VolunteerMatch.
Send love in a letter.
You might not be old enough to remember how good it feels to get a handwritten letter in the mail. But the personal touch of a handwritten message can make a world of difference, especially during the holiday season. Here a few letter-writing campaign groups to help you get started:
- Love for the Elderly—letters to the elderly who deserve a little more love
- Cards of Hope—cards sent to group homes and organizations helping foster youth
- Sunshine Snail Mail—cards to kids who are battling illness
Make a difference while you shop.
While you’re searching for your holiday gifts online this year, consider making your purchases through AmazonSmile. Through a separate portal on Amazon, It offers all the same items and benefits, but Amazon contributes a percentage of the purchase price to the charity of your choice.
There are thousands of great charities out there in need of funding, though it can be daunting when trying to choose. If you’re in the mood to donate and need a little help making a decision on who to give to, we’ve included a few of the great organizations below that Gas South gives back to each year.
- United Way—United Way focuses on advancing the common good in communities throughout the world through education, income and health. Donors can give back to specific locations in their communities or throughout the world Click here to learn more or donate online.
- Salvation Army—The Salvation Army helps meet the needs of about 30 million Americans each year, providing assistance with homelessness, food, disaster relief, rehabilitation, counseling and after-school care. Their charity is set up so contributors can donate locally, if preferred. Click here to learn more or donate online.
- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul—St. Vincent de Paul helps provide services locally and worldwide to the poor, suffering and the deprived. They help with rent, utilities, food and clothing. Click here to donate.
In this week’s blog, we’re spotlighting our very own Valentina Betancur in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month—celebrated September 15 to October 15. Valentina started her position as Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Coordinator in March, and we were excited to catch up with her about her job here at Gas South.
Valentina, can you tell me a little about your background? Where are you from? What did you study in college and why?
It can sometimes be hard to answer that question as an immigrant because I consider myself “from” a lot of places. I was born in Medellín, Colombia, but moved with my family to Jacksonville, Florida, when I was 4 years old, and I grew up there. I do consider Jacksonville to be my hometown.
After I graduated high school, I moved to Gainesville to study at the University of Florida where I majored in both Economics and International Studies. I minored in both International Development & Humanitarian Assistance and Food & Resource Economics. It’s a mouthful, I know.
Growing up in Jacksonville had a big impact on what I studied in college and why I’m in the role I’m in today. I grew up in a low-income area with an ethnically diverse population. I had friends from all types of backgrounds with experiences vastly different from mine, so I grew up listening and understanding other people’s stories, their points of view and how their pasts affected their futures. Growing up in that environment planted the seed for what I would spend my college years and my career doing.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not at work—any hobbies or hidden talents?
My favorite thing to do is to explore different cultures through food. I love expanding my palate and trying foods I would never have considered years ago.
Apart from that, I have a Russian Blue cat named Vlad who is very demanding of cuddles, and I have a small garden I try to keep alive as much as I can.
Can you tell me a little about your role here at Gas South?
I’m one of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Coordinators (DEI) here at Gas South. I have a hand in most of the projects my team oversees. One of the most important parts of my job is to help ensure employees feel seen, heard and valued. Part of that means we must acknowledge that we all come from different backgrounds and celebrate those differences while creating space for conversation on how we can support and advocate for one another.
Another part of my job involves working with the team to constantly review our company practices. If there’s an opportunity to make a policy or procedure more equitable for all, we’re the team that works to make that happen. Mentorship programs are a good example of this. Some—like a program we’re currently working on—can provide new skill development opportunities for otherwise underrepresented employees seeking higher-level roles.
What aspects do you enjoy most about your job and about working here?
The people are, without contest, the most enjoyable part of my job. Not only has everyone made me feel welcome since my first day at Gas South, but we often have challenging group conversations working in DEI about social issues that affect different communities. Every time we host these conversations, they’ve been successful, and that success is primarily due to the willingness of the people involved to be respectful yet honest. The people at Gas South not only help me feel comfortable, but they also help me be effective in my role.
As you know, we’re celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month right now. What does this time mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month for me is a time of pride and reflection. I’m proud of the accomplishments and contributions Latinos and those of Hispanic heritage have made in the United States. I truly believe our contributions have made this country a more equitable and fair place for all. It’s something I not only take pride in but also use as inspiration. I reflect on the challenges the Hispanic community has faced and overcome. I also reflect on the struggles the Hispanic and Latino community faces internally. For example, this month our team is hosting a conversation around colorism and how it continues to impact this community.
What’s the one accomplishment you’re most proud of since you started here? Why?
My proudest moment so far has been the community conversation that we had regarding Juneteenth. It wasn’t something I accomplished by myself. It was a group effort I’m glad to have been a part of. There were so many of my colleagues who attended who were willing to speak candidly about their emotions regarding Juneteenth and its history. It was a moment where many of us let down our guard to try and understand each other.
What advice would you give to young Latino professionals who are starting their careers?
My piece of advice is to be as authentic and true to yourself and your culture as you can. I believe many people, including myself, begin their careers thinking they need to conform to a certain mold to be taken seriously. I’ve realized that’s not the case at all because it’s your uniqueness that helps you succeed. When we bring our whole selves to work, including our culture and background, we can provide a different perspective that your team may not have had before. Authenticity is very valuable.
What Latino traditions or customs do you incorporate in your daily life or even professional life?
I’m not sure if these are qualities that are specific to the Latino and Hispanic culture, but I along with the rest of my immediate family are Colombian immigrants. The adversity that we’ve had to face immigrating and establishing ourselves in this country has taught me to be humble, empathetic and compassionate in any situation I am in. I bring these traits with me to the workplace as well, and it has helped me understand others and work well with them.
If you’ve been shopping for low rates from natural gas companies in Georgia this fall, you’ve probably noticed a drastic rise in natural gas prices with companies across the board. This week, we wanted to share a little about why prices have risen and how Gas South—and other natural gas companies—set rates.
It starts with the NYMEX
Like other natural gas companies, Gas South doesn’t produce natural gas. We purchase it to sell to homes and businesses after a price has been set by the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the world's largest exchange for energy products. At the NYMEX, traders meet and set prices based on several different factors.
Why is the NYMEX high right now?
Supply and demand is a huge consideration when it comes to setting the price of natural gas, and it’s at the heart of why prices have risen this year—higher than they’ve been since a spike in 2008.
More than a decade ago, gas and oil companies began using more efficient methods to extract natural gas from beneath the earth. And that helped create a nice reserve to put into storage. Demand had also been relatively low during this period. So, needs were met, and prices stayed low.
Hurricane Ida put a crimp in that when it blew through in August, leaving a wake of destruction that, among other things, shut down natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico by 94%. Despite the setback, there was still a nice reserve prior to this summer, but record temperatures helped siphon much of that off.
Natural gas is the largest source of electricity production in the U.S.—power plants make about 40% of their electricity from it. And when the heat wave hit, electricity use skyrocketed as people ran their air conditioning units into overtime. The capacity of interstate pipelines was unable to handle the volume of gas needed to meet demand, thus constraining pipeline flow (unusual for the summer season), which often pushes prices up.
In short, supply wasn’t meeting the demand. And that boosted the price of natural gas set by the NYMEX, causing home and business owners throughout the U.S. to pay more for their gas.
How can you cut your natural gas costs?
The price of natural gas fluctuates, despite being relatively stable from 2008 until now. It’s impossible to say for certain where rates will be in the future. But there are ways to protect your pocketbook.
Apart from the various methods to make your home more energy efficient, selecting the right natural gas plan can have a huge impact on your bottom line, regardless of how high rates currently are.
A fixed rate plan, for example, will let you lock in your rate for the term of your agreement. Or for complete peace of mind against rising natural gas prices, choose our OnePrice Plan™. Sign up and pay one, flat monthly payment (plus tax), regardless of usage or where the NYMEX prices are.
Natural gas stoves continue to be a popular choice for cooking throughout the U.S.—about 35% of homes have them, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Lots of people prefer them over electric stoves because they offer greater temperature control and heat food faster. They tend to last longer than electric stoves. They’re usually gentler on cookware. And because natural gas is such an efficient fuel, gas stoves can help cut energy costs, too.
If you’re thinking about switching to a natural gas stove, we’ve put some information together in this blog that will help answer some other questions you might have.
Are natural gas stoves safe?
Yes, when working properly, a gas range is a safe efficient home appliance. Routine maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your gas stove running safely. You’ll want to clean your burners, grates and ignitors on a regular basis, making sure food or grease is removed. An old toothbrush and soapy water work great for this. But don’t try to clean right after cooking—your stove needs time to cool down. If you take any of the stovetop pieces apart for cleaning, be sure to place them back in the proper position.
How hot do gas stoves get?
Natural gas flames can burn as hot as 3,560 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to be aware of what’s near your stove while you’re cooking. Items like plastic utensils, paper wrappings, dish rags and air-tight glass containers should be kept well away from your gas stove when it’s hot.
What color should my flames be on a gas stove?
Your gas flames should be blue. If they’re yellow and orange, there could be cause for concern. Sometimes, moisture in the air can change the color of your flames. This is usually due to the use of a humidifier somewhere nearby—easily fixed by turning the humidifier off. But contaminants in your burners or improper fuel-to-air mix ratio can also change the color, which can lead to a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas—especially dangerous because it can’t be seen or smelled. Carbon monoxide can lead to dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, so be cautious if you experience any of these symptoms while cooking. You can purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your kitchen as an extra precaution.
What if I smell natural gas?
Natural gas leaks, though rare, can be a danger as well. You’ll want to take extra care if you detect the smell of rotten eggs associated with natural gas. Turn your burners off and leave the area until the smell is gone. Malfunctioning burners and pipe connections can be potential sources of a natural gas leak. Call a professional gas technician or someone from your utility company if you suspect a gas leak or problem with your stove’s air flow.
Who makes the best natural gas stoves?
There are many gas stove manufacturers. Your needs will determine the best model and brand for your home. Here are some factors to consider:
- Cooking efficiency: Models with higher British thermal unit (Btu) ratings usually equate to more efficient cooking. Typically, gas stove ranges vary between 5,000 and 12,500 Btu.
- Size: The average gas stove measures 30 inches wide, though there are wider and narrower options available. Be sure to choose the right size for your space. You’ll also want to consider how much you’ll be using your gas range’s oven and what you’re going to be using it for. Some come with more options to arrange oven slide racks—giving you more flexibility. Others come with a double oven that’s helpful if you do lots of baking.
- Burners: Most gas stoves have four burners, though wider ones can have more. And you’ll also want to consider the different burner output capabilities. High output burners are great for boiling water and heating food fast. Simmer burners have a lower output.
- Other features: Consider a gas range with sealed burners to keep food and other debris out. Some have self-cleaning ovens, too, which can save you time. Look for a model with easy-to-read controls, and, if you have children in your home, consider models with safety features that prevent children from getting to the cooktop and oven.
- Warranty: Read the fine print. Some manufacturers offer warranties for extended periods of time. Others will void your warranty if you move your gas range from one location to another.
How much do they cost?
Along with all the factors listed above, the sale price will probably be something you’ll want to weigh when choosing a natural gas range. On the smaller end (about 4.8 cubic feet), gas stoves generally vary between $400 and $600. Larger models (6 to 6.9 cubic feet) start out at about $700 and can sell for as much as $1,700.
Summer break is over, and that has all of us here at Gas South excited about the upcoming school year. As a company that strives to "Be A Fuel For Good,” we’re committed to giving 5% of our profits to support children in need. And part of that support goes to childhood education in the communities we serve.
A few upcoming projects we're excited about include a partnership with our parent company, Cobb EMC. Together, we’re giving $17,000 this year to help expand STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning in Georgia’s Cherokee County.
Dr. Erin Jacobs, the curriculum coordinator for STEM science with the Cherokee County School District, said, “STEM in Cherokee County School District is all about Students and Teachers Energizing Minds! In order to meet the demands of the dynamic, evolving and increasingly competitive world, our goal is to develop STEM-literate graduates equipped to seek out creative solutions to real-world problems. Our STEM programming focuses on authentic opportunities for students to experience interactive and immersive challenges that address global issues. We are grateful for Cobb EMC/Gas South’s continued support of our STEM programs and competitions. Our partnership continues to benefit the students in our district with increased opportunities in STEM.”
The money will go to three STEM projects: an essay contest, Lego building and Solar Cars. The essay contest involves Cherokee County’s seven middle schools and five STEM-focused elementary schools. Each school will have 10 winners, writing on the importance of STEM. For the Lego building, students from 23 schools will show off and compete with their building and design skills at a Lego build-off during the Cherokee Science Olympiad. And for the third project, Solar Cars, students from Woodstock High School will team up with elementary students from 14 other schools to build and race small solar vehicles. Jacobs said this project will impact about 300 students.
We’re also giving a total of $60,000 in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) grants this year to Georgia and Florida public schools that previously received support from Infinite Energy. When Gas South acquired Infinite Energy in December, we knew the company was a good fit for Gas South because we aligned in our commitment to customers, company culture and our drive to make a difference in the communities we serve. Like Gas South, Infinite Energy's community involvement focused heavily on supporting children in need, so we knew the acquisition was a great opportunity for us to expand our efforts.
As part of that expansion, we’re pleased to announce our support this year includes continuing the STEAM grants Infinite Energy awarded each year to public schools in Gwinnett County, Georgia. We’ve sponsored the Gas South STEAM Lab at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta for years, so we’re thrilled to add the Gwinnett projects to our ongoing list of giving back. In August, we’ll officially present $50,000 to six schools there for the STEAM projects they’ve developed.
Gas South is also continuing to fund the robotics program in Alachua County, Florida, where we now have an office. Under the program, students at different schools in the county design and build their own robots. Then students compete with their robots at the local, state and national levels. We’re giving these schools $10,000 this year to support this effort and help inspire these students.
Gas South is committed to making the future a better place. From giving 5% of our profits to support children in need—a total of more than $1.5 million in 2021—to our commitment to invest $50 million in solar projects by the end of 2023, we’re driven to make a difference in the communities we serve and building a more sustainable future. Thank you to all the children and educators who work so hard at school each year. And keep an eye out for future Gas South blogs and social media posts as we follow the progress of these bright students and their projects in the upcoming months—and years—ahead.
Summer’s finally upon us, bringing school kids throughout Georgia a welcome reprieve from hours of studying and homework assignments. But while the break is great to help recharge their academic batteries, the lack of schooling for a few months can often set kids behind—what some have come to call the summer slide. So if you’ve been wondering what you can do this summer to keep your kids on track, we’ve got some fun educational ideas that you can try at home or around the City of Atlanta. Here are six ways to keep kids excited about learning this summer.
Stay sharp with a math scavenger hunt.
When you think about it, math is all around us all the time. Whether you’re indoors, driving through traffic or enjoying the fresh air at your favorite park, the world is always presenting itself in mathematical terms, be it shapes, distances, times or amounts. A math scavenger hunt is a simple way to harness your surroundings for a fun learning experience.
For young children, try giving them a list of shapes they can find in their environment and then have them draw those objects on a sheet of paper. For instance, what things are circles? Can they draw three examples? How many things look like triangles, squares, cones and cylinders? With a little creativity, this idea can be adapted for older students as well, using measurement or even having them discover clues after solving simple equations. And it’s a great way for them to tie math to the real world. If you need a hand getting started, here are a few helpful links for inspiration:
- How to Play Treasure Hunt: Fun Math Card Game
- Free Shapes Scavenger Hunt Printables for Simple Math Fun
- 25 Scavenger Hunts For Kids To Try At Home Or In The Classroom
Investigate the science of animals—in person or virtually.
Science is often a popular topic with kids, especially when it involves learning about the secretive ways of animals. Zoo Atlanta’s Survival Safari offers just that: an evening of team challenges, scavenger hunts and other interactive activities focused on the habits of nocturnal animals. Programs run throughout the summer from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. —reservations are required.
If you can’t make it out to the zoo, try hopping online and checking out Zoo Atlanta’s PandaCam for a candid look at the fascinating lives of giant panda bears. The zoo’s website also features regular blog updates on the pandas, as well as general information on the bears’ habits and biology.
If you’re more into ocean ecology, take your kids on a trip to the Georgia Aquarium, also located in Atlanta. From sharks and dolphins to sea lions and stingrays, you and your kids will be amazed at the up-close encounters the Georgia Aquarium offers. Or take a virtual tour, for an experience less intense. Like Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium features live webcam footage of some of its creatures.
Explore creativity, organizational skills and feelings through writing.
Whether you’ve got a kindergartner or a first-year high school student, writing is a crucial skill that always needs to be worked on. Summer breaks present a unique opportunity for kids to hone this craft, which they’ll use for the rest of their lives in one form or another. But they might need a little encouragement.
If you’re planning a trip, try having them write an agenda for a day’s activities. Or better yet, inspire them to journal about their experiences of the trip—what they saw and learned, who they met and how it made them feel. Summer is also a great time to establish pen-pals, whether writing emails to friends they miss over the break or even traditional mailed letters to family members they don’t see often. If your kids are feeling adventurous, they can even reach out to other kids they don’t know in different parts of the world—click here for a few resources to help kids connect.
Dig into the nature of plant biology.
Mother nature is one of our best teachers. And plants are some of her best tools when it comes to learning. For a fun flora adventure, take your kids to Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Lou Glenn Children’s Garden. The Children’s Garden, which features an array of beautiful plant life, regularly holds educational music performances, interactive learning activities, summer camps and other botanical activities. It opens at 9 a.m. and closes at dusk, Tuesday – Sunday.
If you’re looking for a more long-term experience, try starting a garden with your child. It will help them learn more about the wonderful world of plants—how we’re dependent upon them for food and why they’re essential to the health of the planet’s ecology. Click here for a helpful article on the topic.
Encourage and inspire them to keep reading.
Reading is, perhaps, the most important skill to master for children, as it’s needed to learn about all the other exciting subjects taught in school. Kids are often assigned summer reading, especially as they get older, but the extra free time during summer break can give them a chance to explore specific topics they’re interested in. Not every child is a fan of fiction, after all. Some may prefer reading books and articles that teach them facts about science, history and art.
If your child is still in the early reading stages, take time to read with them. And talk about what you’ve read—it’s even helpful to act out various stories and scenes. If you need a little help from the pros, check out your local public library. Most have summer reading programs designed for different age ranges. And don’t forget the myriad of online resources available today. We’ve put together a few that might help:
- Summer Reading Charts & Games (Pre-K – 6th)
- The Ultimate Summer Reading List for Kids Ages 9 – 12
- 7 Fun Summer Books for Reluctant readers in Grades 9 – 12
- Ten Awesome Science Books For Curious Kids
Delve into Georgia’s natural history.
Georgia has countless natural history sites to explore and learn about, but one of our favorites is Okefenokee Swamp Park, located in Waycross, Georgia. As one of the world’s largest intact freshwater ecosystems, the Okefenokee Swamp offers a rich experience of America’s natural heritage. Visitors can see alligators, turtles, woodpeckers, storks and even the rare and endangered indigo snake—to name but a few—in their natural habitats. The Okefenokee Swamp Park, open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., features wilderness trails, boat tours, wildlife shows and short train tours of a pioneer family homestead.
As a company that gives 5% back to support children in the communities we serve, we’re proud to offer even more support through helpful resources and ideas. We hope this blog helps inspire you this summer.
How to Clean Your Gas Grill
Proper gas grill maintenance involves more than just scraping excess food or grease. It's about looking "under the hood" to spot any issues (before they become bigger issues). More importantly, it's about making sure the food you're serving to family and friends is safe and delicious.
Luckily, caring for natural gas grills and fireplaces is pretty simple. So if it's been a while since you thoroughly cleaned yours, here's where to start.
Deep Cleaning Your Gas Grill
What you’ll need:
- A grill brush
- A bamboo skewer, toothpick, or paperclip
- A bucket of soapy water
- A bucket to catch debris
- A sponge (that you don't mind throwing away)
- A towel or rag
- Bottle brush or wire coat hanger
- Steel wool pads
- Wet-dry vac
Steps for Cleaning Your Gas Grill
- First, check the inside of your grill and wipe away any debris that may have collected while it was in storage. Cobwebs tend to flare up when they ignite, so keep an eye out for those.
- Let the grill run on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes. After the grill is hot, turn off the gas and scrape the grate with your brush to remove food particles.
- Once the grill is completely cool, you can remove the grates for an even deeper clean. Most people brush down their grates lightly before grilling, but occasionally they need to be cleaned with a bit more force to remove stubborn bits of food. Use the metal scraper on your brush, if necessary. Some people like to scrub the grates down with some soapy water to get them extra clean, while others prefer a brush-only approach to let the grill naturally "season."
- It may not have occurred to you to check inside the lid, but loose bits and splattered grease can collect there, too. So while this part of the grill doesn't need as much attention, it's a good idea to scrape it down (after all, you don't want anything falling on your food).
- Now you'll want to check the burner tubes since clogs or corrosion inside the tubes can snuff out sections of the burner flame, preventing food from cooking evenly. With the gas or tank turned off, remove the cooking grates and heat deflector plates ("flame tamers"). Clean off any spills on the burner tubes with a wire brush, then clear any blocked holes using a toothpick, skewer, or the end of a paper clip. You can also remove the tubes and run a bottle brush or straightened wire coat hanger through the center to loosen any remaining debris.
- Grab your soapy water and sponge and give the heat deflector plates a thorough scrub. You'll be surprised at the difference after all that grime comes off. If you've removed your burner tubes, you can wash those in soapy water as well—or just use a damp sponge or cloth to wipe them clean. Make sure to thoroughly towel dry the tubes and gas ports before putting them back on the grill.
- Instead of dish soap, some prefer to use a homemade cleaning solution of water, vinegar, and baking soda. If you opt for this method, spray the heat deflectors down with the solution and let them soak while you complete the next step. For an extra deep clean, wipe them down with steel wool after they've soaked for a few minutes.
- Because most grime ends up at the bottom of the grill, you'll want to spend some time there, too. Some of the char will be next to impossible to get off (even with soapy water), so you can just use your grill brush to remove the large pieces of debris. Some grills have removable bottom trays that slide right out, making this part of the job easier. Take your grill brush (or maybe a smaller brush) to clean the hard-to-reach areas on the sides. Scoop the debris into your bucket or use a wet-dry vac to remove it.
- Finally, give the outside of your grill a wipe-down using some cleaning solution and a paper towel. Don't use scouring pads on the outside of the grill since those can leave scratch marks (especially on stainless steel). You can also wipe down the storage area underneath the grill.
- Heat the grill again on high for around 10 or 15 minutes to evaporate any remaining moisture or cleaning solution. Once it's cool, put the cover on. You're ready for another successful grilling season!
Pro Tips on Cleaning Your Gas Grill
When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s instructions. While there are many different methods of cleaning gas grills, make sure to follow the maintenance procedures listed in your instruction manual so you don't accidentally void your warranty.
Work from top to bottom. This way, as particles of debris fall into the grill, you only have to clean out the bottom once.
Don’t use harsh chemicals. After all, this is where you're going to be cooking your food. A grill brush and soapy water should work just fine; for stubborn bits, just use some steel wool.
Do a quick inspection. While you're cleaning and taking apart the grill, it's a good time to check your burners for rust marks or large holes (which could mean it's time to replace them).
It doesn’t have to look brand new. Even after you've deep cleaned the grill, it's not going to look like it just came out of the showroom. That's perfectly fine! If you clean it and maintain it regularly, you should expect many years of fun barbecues and great-tasting food.
How Often to Clean Your Gas Grill
The average person only needs to deep clean their gas grill following the steps described above 1 or 2 times per year, depending on how heavily you use your grill. However, for everyday cleaning purposes, treat it similarly to your kitchen stove. Experts recommend giving it a good scrub with your brush after each use.
Once per week, let the grill run on high for about 15 minutes to burn off excess grime.
How to Maintain Your Gas Grill
Besides regular cleaning, there are a few things you should do to keep your grill in top condition and maximize its lifespan.
First of all, keep the grill covered when it's not in use. It may seem like a no-brainer, but this prevents it from rusting and helps keep it clean. If your grill isn't in a covered area, it's worth investing in a cover from the manufacturer.
You'll also want to check the gas line about once per month. This process is easy: simply run some soapy water along the gas line and connections while the gas is turned on. If any bubbles form, that indicates a leak. You'll want to tighten the connection or replace the line.
When in Doubt, Contact a Professional
The gas grill maintenance steps above may feel intimidating. Fortunately, most manufacturers and contractors offer customer support and warranties to give you peace of mind. For gas grill troubleshooting (and to ensure you're cleaning it correctly), check your owner's manual or contact your manufacturer.
Now that you’re ready to give your gas grill or a good cleaning, what are you planning on cooking up?
At Gas South, our purpose is to Be a Fuel for Good. We are proud to have not only demonstrated this through our promise to give 5% of our profits to children in need but also through our employee commitment to actively serve in our community. Our contributions mean more than just a corporate check; it’s a corporate check with an army of volunteers behind it.
We enjoy putting our purpose into action every month from volunteer events in and around Atlanta, to donation pick-ups at our building, to many of our employees serving as non-profit board members. We are proud to highlight our commitment over the years that has made an impact in our community in honor of National Volunteer Week.
Here are a few examples of the ways we’ve been putting our time, talent and financial contributions into action since 2019:
2020 Volunteer Efforts:
- 490 hours logged throughout the year.
- 450 food kits assembled for children and families facing food insecurity.
- 27 nonprofit organizations benefitted from Gas South’s volunteerism.
- All 10 departments were represented.
2019 Volunteer Efforts:
- Over 1100 hours logged throughout the year.
- Dental care provided for 800 elementary school students.
- Education for over 100 students at the YMCA Gas South STEAM Lab.
- Gas South employees participated at 23 volunteer events.
We are also proud to have several of our employees who understand the importance of taking it a step further to serve on non-profit boards for organizations in our community.
Gas South Employee Board Service:
Manon Brochu – Salvation Army
Greg Dunavant – Shepherd Center
Harli Gawronski – YMCA
Kevin Greiner – YMCA chair, United Way, Learn for Life
Meredith Hodges – Action Ministries (now HOPE Atlanta)
David Malone – St. Vincent de Paul
Melanie Muhlfelder – Nana Grants
Carley Stephens – YMCA
Jamie Tiernan – HEAT, Junior Achievement
Lauren Tuten – Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club Advisory
Marina White – Bobby Jones Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation
PJ Zonsius – 4H of Georgia
Gas South also assists in helping employees find the right board to serve on via our very own Board Service form. In addition, we have offered Board Service training in the past for employees to learn more about the social, career and personal well-being benefits of being a board member.
Gas South believes in providing employees support and opportunity to learn valuable skills, increase networking opportunities and discover a sense of purpose through serving. We are incredibly proud of our employees, leadership and partners for working every day to make a difference in our communities and in people’s lives.
To close out Women’s History Month we are proud to highlight our newest addition to Gas South’s Executive Leadership Team, Stacy Paez, Chief Legal and People Officer.
Before joining Gas South, Stacy served as General Counsel, and the VP of Legal and HR at Infinite Energy. She has held a number of roles since joining Infinite Energy in 2009 including, Corporate Counsel, HR Manager and Executive Director of Human Resources.
Originally from rural Pennsylvania, Stacy moved to Florida to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree at Flagler College in St. Augustine and later attended law school at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Stacy is now married with a son and a daughter.
In her free time, Stacy has been revisiting childhood joys by enjoying a variety of experiences with her children, including museums, parks, hiking, the beach, creating “art”, and ziplining in the backyard. During Covid-19, she’s added creating a pre-K curriculum to her household resume. She loves to find humor in all aspects of life, which has proven to be an excellent survival tool for her when social distancing with a mischievous preschooler.
“I’m fortunate to work at Gas South, where women are represented at all levels. The culture at Gas South is already well-regarded throughout the industry, and I look forward to continuing and furthering that legacy.” – Stacy Paez
Gas South proudly welcomes Stacy, not only with her breadth of knowledge and experience in the workplace but also her ability to recognize the need for women in leadership roles is invaluable. We are so excited to continue to put in the work and demonstrate what it means to “Be a Fuel for Good”.
Gas South is proud to support the communities we serve by donating 5% of profits to children in need as part of our purpose to Be A Fuel For Good. In honor of Women’s History Month, we are excited to highlight local Gas South partners like Nana Grants where we donated $20,000 this month to provide full-time, after and before school childcare funding for low-income, single student mothers attending school.
“Our goal is to eliminate the financial barrier of childcare so that a student mother can focus on her studies, graduate, and begin a rewarding, well-compensated career that launches herself and her child out of the cycle of generational poverty for good.”
Erica Stephens, Founder and Executive Director, Nana Grants
Gas South has partnered with Nana Grants since 2019, and proudly provided support for the following accomplishments:
- 32 Student Mothers Supported Since 2016
- 10 Degrees Earned Since 2016
- 23 Current Grant Recipients
- 35 Children Currently Receiving Child Care
- $135,858 worth of Nana Grants currently being distributed
With more than 40% of Georgia’s low-income families led by a single mother, overcoming poverty through education is limited due to the lack of continuous, quality childcare. In 2020, Gas South made it possible for twelve women across the state of Georgia to cover childcare costs for one year while they worked on their college degrees. We have been proud to partner with Nana Grants and we’re excited to continue to support in building a better future for low-income single mothers pursuing an education and their children.
To learn more about Nana Grants and for more information on how to donate, please click here.
At Gas South, our purpose is to “Be a Fuel for Good,” which is why we believe in equitable education for all children. In 2020, we had the opportunity to partner with Next Generation Men and Women (Next Gen), a local Atlanta non-profit that helps minority youth excel in education.
Through an exposure experience, we gave students the opportunity to step into the role of a senior level Gas South employee to learn about how to heal the negative effects the pandemic can have within the workplace. The students were able to gain real world experience, while learning how to increase employee productivity and make great networking connections.
Gas South’s Community Affairs Coordinator Aulona Graham-Simms asked Next Gen’s Executive Director, Phil Olaleye questions about the importance of their work and what a truly equitable Atlanta should look like for all kids to be successful. Check out highlights from the interview below.
Aulona Graham-Simms, Gas South: Tell us about yourself and Next Generation Men & Women
Phil Olaleye, Next Gen: Opportunity is a part of my personal and professional journey. Growing up in Stone Mountain, the son of Nigerian and Colombian immigrants, I traveled almost two hours, taking two buses one-way, just to attend a quality public school. It was this experience that underscored the power of education and how it can help a young person rise above his circumstances. It also affirmed how unequal access to a quality education and opportunity is for low-income, Black youth. I went on to study Public Policy at Duke University and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and have dedicated my career to supporting youth, workers, and families through service in the United States Peace Corps and leadership roles with the City of Atlanta and now Next Generation Men & Women (Next Gen).
Next Gen addresses racial inequities in education by closing the same opportunity gap that stood in the way of my future success years ago. We partner with under-resourced high schools to create student cohorts that begin in the 9th grade and remain together until graduation. Teachers and College Mentors guide students through a curriculum rooted in personal identity, post-secondary exploration, professional & leadership development, and college & career planning. Cohorts meet twice a week, after school, and take monthly trips to local colleges and companies to engage with different careers and professionals. Currently, we serve 300 students (100% Black and brown) across 5 high schools in Atlanta Public (Carver STEAM, Maynard Jackson, South Atlanta) and Fulton County (Banneker, Creekside) School districts and partner with 65+ local companies and colleges.
AGS: What brought you to this particular work and why is it important?
PO: As a Black man, whose life was transformed by education and mentorship, this work is personal. There’s no better investment than in our young people. I’m blessed to see their talent and gifts on display each and every day. Our students are beautiful and inspiring. However, too many Black youth in Atlanta are victim to economic hardship and structural racism. Real opportunity should not be determined by race, class or where you call home. All young people deserve the best that we have to offer. Unfortunately, we are falling short — especially for our Black youth.
This reality gives way to the worst outcome for any young person: a loss of excitement and hope for what’s ahead in life. Once that belief is gone, it’s hard to recover, graduate and find success in career and future plans. We can break the cycle of poverty gripping our Black youth and families by restoring systems that provide real, quality educational opportunity. The gap between affluent and low-income youth, in terms of educational enrichment and support, is too wide — and we’re losing our most precious asset in the process — our youth.
AGS: Your organization sits at the intersection of many equity issues: Race, public education, college preparedness and the opportunity gap. How does Next Gen’s model help provide solutions for students dealing with these inequities?
PO: The state of Education is a microcosm of the world we live in. The equity challenges facing our students, educators and families — poverty, race, opportunity — can’t be solved alone and in a vacuum. Solutions require compassion, collective impact and enough resources to reverse decades of hardship and pain. Our program model understands that it takes more than college and career planning or culturally relevant curriculum to create student buy-in and excitement regarding their future. Seeing is believing. Similarly, visiting different workplaces and college campuses grows a student’s imagination and belief, but doesn’t provide support and resources necessary to develop socially and emotionally, and execute a plan toward achieving one’s goals after high school.
One person or one approach alone can’t realistically help students triage the many inequities that make their development and success so challenging. So, our model literally builds a locally sourced and diverse community in support of Atlanta youth, including: families, educators, college students, professionals, colleges and companies. We call it our “Village”, taking after the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”. And through four years of exposure, mentorship, and support, students develop a stronger sense of self, set informed goals, and build the skills and agency necessary to be successful after high school — college and career.
AGS: Purpose driven work can be rewarding and taxing at the same time. Where do you personally draw your strength and inspiration from?
PO: My father instilled a work ethic and drive to never settle. My mother opened my mind and heart to the world to be curious and kind. My guidance counselor and Ms. Brenda saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. They both are responsible for planting the seed to apply to Duke and walking me through the application on the submission date with a few minutes to spare. Perla and Edwin, my Peace Corps supervisors, showed me what it was like to lead decisively with heart and value community voice. My siblings, friends and partner Sabrina are patient and supportive in more ways than I can count. My Next Gen team goes hard every single day, to create real on-ramps to opportunity for the youth we serve. We’re not just building community here in Atlanta, but a model to replicate in other parts of the country where a lack of opportunity is holding back youth and communities from thriving. My “why” is clear and my “village” keeps me grounded and moving forward.
AGS: In 100 years, what do you hope is true about the City of Atlanta and the students who are educated here?
PO: I hope that every child born and raised in Atlanta has a clear path to a quality education, opportunity, and support. Atlanta is not a small legacy — this is a big legacy city and we need to raise the level of expectations. We have more than enough resources and talented women and men calling Atlanta home who can answer the call. But too many people feel like we’re not aiming high enough or aren’t in this fight together. We can do this. We can deliver on our great promise. But it can’t be done alone. It requires all of us to expect more and do more — especially those in a position of power. If we get this right, we can unleash a world of unimaginable benefits for our City, State and World.
There’s no question indoor plants can brighten up a room. But It’s not quite the same effect if they’re wilting, drooping, yellowing, or otherwise just not thriving.
If you think your plants could use some additional TLC, try these tips:
Don’t treat all your plants the same
Different plants have different needs when it comes to sunlight, water and maintenance.
Most plants do well in bright, indirect light (such as near a window, but without actually being in the sun). Some do better with moderate or low light, and some may even need more direct light. No matter what kind of light they need, consider rotating your plants every 2-3 months so that all sides get similar light exposure.
It also helps to put your plants on different watering schedules. Plants that naturally grow in a desert environment, such as cacti or succulents, won’t need as much water as tropical plants. In general, plants with thicker leaves need less water, while plants with thinner leaves need more.
And while some plants are finicky and need specific care, a lot will suffer if they’re moved or fussed with too much.
Get the right plant for your environment
The other half of the battle is getting the right plant for your home in the first place. For example, if your space has low lighting, you wouldn’t want to get a plant that needs a lot of direct light.
If you don’t exactly have a green thumb, go for low-maintenance plants. Check out these resilient varieties, and pick the best ones for your care style.
And if you have pets, make sure you pick a plant that’s safe for them. Many common plants can be toxic to cats and dogs. In some cases, the animal doesn’t even need to be in contact with the plant—even airborne particles can be dangerous.
The ASPCA has compiled a list of plants to avoid so you can check if any of your houseplants pose a problem for your furry friends.
Or, if you’re just starting the hunt for the perfect plant, here’s a list of some pet-friendly options.
Make sure they’re getting enough air
Even turning on a ceiling fan regularly helps. Proper ventilation helps clear out air pollutants, keeping you and your plants healthy. Excessive dampness is also a big killer for houseplants, as it can lead to fungal disease and rot. Good airflow helps extra water evaporate from your plant quickly.
Airflow also helps the surface of leaves stay clean, which in turn keeps the plant healthier. If you see the leaves looking white or dusty, wipe them down gently with a cloth.
And don’t keep the plant too close to a corner or wall—this makes it harder for those back parts of the plants to get sufficient air.
Don’t forget about the roots
Healthy roots are essential for a healthy plant.
As your plant grows, the root system grows as well. If this becomes too crowded, it won’t be able take in the water and nutrients it needs.
Plants usually need to be repotted every 12-18 months. Sometimes, they don’t even need a new container—just new soil with fresh nutrients.
Look for these signs your plant needs to be repotted:
- Plant becoming top-heavy or easily tipped
- Roots coming up through the soil or through the drainage holes
- Soil level going down in the pot
- Salt/mineral buildup
- Slow or stagnant growth
If you see any of these, it’s time to repot. But if you can repot on your own schedule, plants do best when repotted in the spring. That’s because that’s typically when roots are growing, so they’ll be able to expand into the new soil right away,
Last, make sure you get the right soil for your type of houseplant. While you always want to use a mix intended for potted plants, rather than a garden soil, you also want to pay attention to the soil composition. As with everything else, some plants thrive more in one type of soil than others.
With the right houseplant for your lifestyle and a solid maintenance schedule, you can enjoy your plants for years to come.
On December 18th, 2020 Gas South announced the closing of its acquisition deal of Infinite Energy. The acquisition will expand Gas South’s customer base to over 425,000 residential, commercial, industrial and wholesale customers throughout the southeastern U.S.
Gas South acquired Infinite Energy’s wholesale and retail natural gas business and customer list, located primarily in Georgia and Florida. The primary headquarters will remain in Atlanta, but the company expects to retain a presence in Gainesville, Fl., where Infinite was founded in 1994 by co-CEOs Darin Cook and Rich Blaser.
Gas South and Infinite share strong values such as keeping customers first and valuing a culture of excellence throughout the company. Together, the companies are unified as leaders, collaborators, innovators, teammates, friends and family.
“We knew from our first meeting with Darin and Rich that Infinite Energy would be an outstanding fit for Gas South, thanks to the quality of services they provide and the enviable culture they’ve created,” said Kevin Greiner, Gas South’s President and CEO.
This acquisition is an exciting adventure for the Gas South family to join with Infinite Energy to become the largest natural gas provider in the Southeast. Together, the two companies will become one Gas South achieving more with their shared people first cultures and complementary business competencies.
For access to the full press release please click here.
Gas South is proud to partner with Sunshine on a Ranney Day to give Alejandro a brand new, accessible bedroom and bathroom so that he can have some independence and mobility, as well as give his family some peace of mind.
In Gas South’s efforts to “Be a Fuel for Good” and to make a significant and distinct difference for several non-profits, Impact Investments of $50,000 were awarded to six organizations. Non-profit organizations were invited to apply for the funding, and a team of Gas South employees helped narrow down the entries. In 2019, Gas South awarded Sunshine on a Ranney Day with one of the Impact Investments. Sunshine on a Ranney Day renovates homes for children with special needs, and through this year’s investment, Gas South was able to support 16-year-old Alejandro and his family. Alejandro was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when he was just six years old. He is in a wheelchair and needed a new accessible bedroom and bathroom.
From the makeover, Alejandro and his brother are no longer sharing a bed. Alejandro can now reach his own clothing in his closet, roll under an accessible vanity, reach the faucet and brush his own teeth and easily maneuver his wheelchair around his room thanks to the new hard surface flooring. Most importantly, Alejandro, can now shower independently!
Due to limitations surrounding COVID-19 and wanting to keep Alejandro and his family safe, the Sunshine team decided for the reveal to happen over Facebook Live. To watch the reveal and reaction of Alejandro and his family, please visit Sunshine on a Ranney Day’s Facebook page.
It might not be convenient scheduling a maintenance visit from your local heating and cooling contractor. And it might cost you a little money up front. But experts recommend doing this at least once a year, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to let you know why. Here are three reason to get your heating and cooling system checked on a regular basis:
Save, Save, Save
The harder your A/C and heating system has to work, the more it’s going to cost to operate. Preventative maintenance can ensure your system is running as efficiently as possible. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 30% on your heating and cooling expenses by keeping your system in tip-top shape.
But it’s not just your energy bill that you can save on. Regular maintenance can help prevent costly breakdowns or having to buy an entirely new system. And if your HVAC system is under warranty, you may even be required to get regular tune-ups as a condition of the guarantee—read through yours to find out.
Additionally, If you sign up for a regular maintenance plan with a local heating and cooling contractor, you might even get extra benefits such as priority service, discounted parts and labor, and regular maintenance reminders. Click here for some tips on how to choose a contractor.
And, if you haven’t already, consider checking with your area’s utility company. Many offer free or discounted yearly tune-ups you’ll want to take advantage of.
Boost Safety and Comfort
Generally speaking, air quality indoors isn’t as good as the air outside. The EPA reports that airborne pollutants are typically up to five times higher inside. This can be attributed to a number of causes—dust, mold, pollen and even gasses from carpet and paint. An efficient HVAC system will help filter these pollutants out and help you breathe easy.
A properly working system can also protect your home during cold spells—helping prevent cracked pipes and other damage that can occur in freezes. This is especially problematic when you’re not there to keep an eye on things. Today’s smart thermostats can help you manage your temperatures when you’re gone, but they won’t help fix the issue if other parts of your system malfunction.
Your heating system can also be the cause of carbon monoxide in your home, as defective parts in your heat exchanger can leak this dangerous gas into your living spaces. Regular maintenance checks can help find such problems before they become serious health risks.
And regular maintenance will also help increase your comfort, as a properly working system will help move air through your home evenly and efficiently, no matter what season.
Help Protect the Planet
HVAC systems have gotten more efficient over the years, but heating and cooling still make up the single biggest energy expense for homes in the U.S.—at about 48%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Most of our energy production still comes from fossil fuels such as natural gas—the most efficient of the lot—and that has an affect on the well-being of our planet, as these fuel sources have been shown to contribute to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. A well-working HVAC system will help you cut your carbon footprint and help protect our environment.
Additionally, if you haven’t had your system serviced in a while, a heating and cooling contractor can tell you what kind of refrigerant your system is using. Some types—produced before 2010—have been shown to contribute to ozone depletion. The good news is that in many cases you can have your refrigerant replaced with a type that’s friendlier to Mother Nature’s fragile atmosphere.
This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times. We previously highlighted the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Heating Energy Assistance Team Inc. (HEAT), and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. Now, let’s look at the United Way of Greater Atlanta, a nonprofit focused on creating a community where “all the children are well.”
Given the dire circumstances in our communities due to the economic fallout caused by COVID-19, we’ve committed over $1 million to support people who are directly impacted by the pandemic. This philanthropic commitment includes a $250,000 donation to United Way – triple our commitment from 2019 and our single largest contribution to any organization.
We have partnered with United Way since 2008, as we are aligned with their belief that a thriving community is only possible if the children are thriving. With a focus on creating a community where “all the children are well,” United Way hopes to give every child the opportunity to reach their potential and ensure that we are building a strong future for Greater Atlanta.
For children in our metro Atlanta community, COVID-19 brought several challenges, including an increasing digital divide and education gap between students. In conjunction with United Way partners, PowerMyLearning and the Atlanta Public School Foundation, our donation will help lessen the gap between students and provide those in need with computers and resources necessary to excel in school.
To combat the economic and social disparities caused by COVID-19, United Way partnered with the Community Foundation to form the COVID-19 Response and Relief Fund. $150,000 went to this initiative, with another $50,000 directly supporting impacted Florida communities and the remaining $50,000 granted to the National Restaurant Relief Fund, helping provide aid for affected restaurant workers.
For more information about United Way of Greater Atlanta and opportunities to give back, please visit their website.
We’re giving over $1 million in 2020 to priority nonprofit partners whose services have become more critical than ever amid COVID-19. Learn how we’re making a difference together and how you can help.
This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times. We previously highlighted the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Heating Energy Assistance Team Inc. (HEAT). Now, let’s look at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, a nonprofit organization open to serving all through programs and services that help build spirit, body and mind.
With daycare and school closures, many adjusted to the new norm of balancing full-time parenting and working from home full-time. Nurses, first responders and many more continued to report for work. Earlier this year, Gas South committed $1 million to ease the pandemic’s impact on our community, including $150,000 to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta to provide childcare for essential workers at club locations across the metro Atlanta area.
As families struggle to adjust to the “new normal,” the YMCA’s services have become critical for many, especially those with childcare needs. With the mandatory closing of its branches in mid-March, the YMCA transitioned six of its 24 Atlanta locations into help centers to provide meals for those in need and childcare support for first responders and frontline workers. In the first two months of operation, these programs served over 1,500 children. In addition, the YMCA launched Operation R.E.A.C.H, an initiative designed to connect with and engage seniors and high-risk groups needing resources and support to keep them connected and healthy.
Considering the growing need for childcare support due to COVID-19 and the essential services the YMCA has provided, our $150,000 donation is five times greater than what we gave in 2019. In terms of the tangible impact created by the donation, our contribution funded one of the YMCA’s childcare centers, providing nearly 500 hours of high-quality childcare for children in our Atlanta community.
“The support of Gas South enables the YMCA to truly deliver on our promise of service to those who turn to us for community and those who turn to us for survival,” said Lauren Koontz, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta.
For more information about the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and the different opportunities to give back and get involved, please visit their website.
We’re giving over $1 million in 2020 to priority nonprofit partners whose services have become more critical than ever amid COVID-19. Learn how we’re making a difference together and how you can help.
This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times. We previously highlighted the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Now, let’s look at the Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT), a nonprofit organization that provides critical support to low-income families.
Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, many metro Atlanta families need assistance to cover their bills. Gas South committed over $1 million to ease the pandemic’s impact on our community, including a $150,000 donation to the Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT).
For all too many Georgians, a missed paycheck or unanticipated challenge, such as COVID-19, creates difficult financial choices for basic necessities. Over the past 36 years, HEAT has been working to help eliminate the "heat or eat” choice many are faced with and has provided more than $23 million in energy assistance to over 100,000 households.
Gas South & HEAT
With Gas South’s longstanding mission to Be a Fuel for Good, we are committed to serving and giving back to our community, especially during these unprecedented times. That’s why our donation to HEAT is five times what it was in 2019, and we estimate this will help nearly 1,000 families avoid natural gas service interruption.
We have proudly supported HEAT, as well as other local charitable organizations long before the pandemic hit, and we will continue to do so long after. Giving back is an integral part of who we are at Gas South, as a company and as individuals. Gas South gives 5% of our annual profits to support children, families and our communities resulting in over $6.5 million dollars donated thus far.
We're giving over $1 million in 2020 to priority nonprofit partners whose services have become more critical than ever amid COVID-19. Learn how we're making a difference together and how you can help.
This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times.
In Mid-March, we became one of the first corporate offices in Atlanta to institute a work-from-home mandate to protect employees and do our part to flatten the curve. Although our workforce is currently 100% remote, it's not stopping us from carrying out our mission to "Be a Fuel For Good." In fact, the opposite is true. We've stepped up our giving efforts even more.
As our employees helped deliver meals, packed food boxes, and found ways to volunteer virtually, we began to increase funding to area nonprofits. In April alone, we deployed $850,000 in funding, focusing on organizations positioned to have the most significant reach during this time.
In this giving spotlight series, we’ll look at a few of the ways these nonprofit partners are helping people and communities during these uncertain times, starting with Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Atlanta Community Food Bank
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, around 1 in 5 Georgia children lived in food-insecure households. As schools remain closed, many children's primary source of nutrition has disappeared. Organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank provide a lifeline for families struggling to keep the fridge stocked.
In an average year, more than 780,000 people across Metro Atlanta seek assistance from one of ACFB's 700 food pantries. Now, ACFB's CEO Kyle Waide estimates there are more than a million people in insecure food situations. ACFB has expanded its outreach efforts to meet the growing need, partnering with schools and YMCA branches, feeding hotel employees, and even setting up drive-through food pantries.
"We've increased our distribution by more than 30% over the last two months," Waide recently told Fox 5 News, emphasizing that support from the community is more critical than ever before. In total, ACFB is now distributing a staggering 2 million pounds of food per week—and anticipates sustaining this amount over the next several months.
How We're Helping
While we have long supported Atlanta Community Food Bank and its mission, we've increased our financial commitment this year to $200,000—20 times what we’ve donated in years past. The funding will provide food for children who are no longer receiving free or discounted school lunches and who cannot access school food pantries.
The donation will also support Georgia's hotel workers. Through our partnership with ACFB, funding will support the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association by addressing what has become a massive need, considering 90% of Georgia's hospitality workers have been unemployed since April.
Thanks in part to this funding, Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association have begun holding weekly pop-up food pantries every Tuesday to provide much-needed relief for these workers.
The pop-up pantries will take place until the end of May at various hotels across Metro Atlanta. Initially, each event provided around 250 furloughed or laid-off workers with 30-pound bags of groceries; beginning April 28, it doubled that capacity, now serving up to 500 families.
"Hope is the fuel that sustains us through uncertain times," said our President and CEO Kevin Greiner. "Hotel workers are often the ones smiling through the bad days, cheering up guests and spreading positivity. It is our turn to reciprocate the warmth and kindness of the hospitality industry by sharing our messages of hope and donating funds to provide food for them and their families."
When the second pop-up food pantry event took place at The Westin, many of our employees were even there to show their support (from a safe social distance) with words of encouragement and handmade signs.
How You Can Get Help
Atlanta Community Food Bank offers several convenient ways to seek assistance from one of its food pantry locations (and locate its partner agencies). To find help near you, you can visit their COVID-19 Help Map page and enter your ZIP code to see a list of locations (as well as their hours, phone numbers, and policies).
You can also text "FINDFOOD" or "COMIDA" to 888-976-2232 to receive instant information about food pantry locations near you.
The Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association will be reaching out to impacted workers with updates on pop-up food pantry events, including times and locations. If the hospitality industry slowdown has affected you, you can visit the GHLA's COVID-19 page for a list of available resources.
How You Can Provide Help
With a record number of requests pouring in (and major fundraising events like the annual Hunger Walk Run now canceled due to the coronavirus), Atlanta Community Food Bank needs financial support now more than ever. Even small donations keep someone from going hungry. As little as $1 provides four meals for someone in need, including children, seniors, and families in crisis.
You can choose to make a one-time donation of any amount or make a monthly gift. Be sure to check whether your employer will match your donation, too. If you've got a birthday coming up, consider starting a Facebook Fundraiser benefiting Atlanta Community Food Bank. We have a feeling your friends and family will be more than happy to brighten up your birthday while you're all stuck at home.
Being a Fuel for Good: During COVID-19 and Beyond
We hope our commitment of more than $1M in 2020 inspires others to join us in supporting our communities and all those impacted by COVID-19.
This commitment will continue long past the pandemic, since giving back is an integral part of our culture and purpose. Even in 2019, before the Coronavirus pandemic, we had already given more than $850,000 to organizations that provide basic needs, education, and illness/disability support to children in need in our communities.
In addition to funding, more than 165 Gas South employees logged 900+ volunteer hours last year, donating their time and talents to pack summer lunches for kids, help elementary students receive dental care, raise money for Bert’s Big Adventure and more.
And because we'll continue giving back at least 5% of our profits in years to come, every one of our customers is helping us "Be a Fuel for Good," too.
How Gas South is Managing Organizational Communication During COVID-19
The past few months have upended the modern-day workforce. Entire organizations have moved to a work-from-home model, employees are learning to collaborate while they self-isolate and leaders are tasked with building culture via video chat. It is understandable that these times of change have left many employees with concerns about the future and a desire for certainty in the workplace. As leaders, we may not be able to guarantee what the future holds, but we can help ease fears among employees through thoughtful, empathetic and transparent communication.
At Gas South, the following four tenets for communication have proven to be a successful guide in the time of COVID-19
Clearly Communicate Key Points
In the age of digital communication, every word matters. This is even more true when miscommunications can cause undue fear or worry and negatively impact your corporate culture. To ensure our intended message is as clear as possible, we take care to identify and highlight the key points for employees. This includes bolding statements that communicate dates or changes to previously communicated policies. We also keep the statements to short, uncomplicated sentences at either the very beginning or very end of paragraphs to prevent them from getting buried in other messaging. We also vet our content with other leaders to ensure all employees are receiving the same message about our intent, without room for error.
Frequent and Transparent
One of the first procedures we established when we shifted to working remotely was a clear schedule for when employees should hear from leadership. Our president and CEO, Kevin Greiner, records a video every Friday that updates employees with information about our organizational wellbeing to assure employees that the company is running smoothly and effectively. Employees also want to understand how state decisions around shelter-in-place orders or closing schools may or may not impact our plans, so we communicate with employees within 24 hours of key government announcements to provide employees sufficient information to make family decisions. We also created space for employees to ask and receive real-time answers to questions through periodic virtual town halls conducted on Microsoft Teams where they can hear company updates to keep them informed about Gas South, and the decisions our leaders are making to continue putting the health and safety of our employees and customers as a top priority. In addition to scheduled communications, our human resources team periodically checks in with our employees to see how they are managing during these challenging times. This offers a unique opportunity to connect on an individual level with our employees, and helps us respond to their needs the best we can.
Validate All Employee Experiences
This time at home has impacted everyone differently. For some employees who have children, pets or other potential distractions awaiting them at home, the office may provide a desired reprieve compared to employees who find themselves thriving in the solitude provided by working from home – we’re aware that both situations exist and we’re constantly working to accommodate all employees to the best of our ability to ease the transition out of the office. One way we’ve been able to do this is through employee pulse surveys. An early survey revealed a significant portion of employees felt less productive working from home because they needed an additional computer monitor. We were able to swiftly respond to the needs of our employees by ordering and shipping monitors to those who needed them. While we cannot physically accommodate requests to return to the office early, we’ve been intentional about asking employees to prioritize their families. In some cases that has meant flexibly scheduling meetings around childcare or home-schooling obligations, and for others it means shifting work amongst the team so people can guiltlessly prioritize their lives how they need to.
Root Your Message in Your Values
The most important part of any communication is not the words used, but the impact it leaves. For us at Gas South, it was important that our team knew the current health crisis wouldn’t change our commitment to our employees, community or customers. Our company purpose is to Be a Fuel for Good, and that statement has been the single most important decision-making factor for us during this time. We communicated our largest ever philanthropic donation of $1 million to organizations that are directly helping families impacted by COVID-19, halted all involuntary service disconnections and resolved not to lay off any employees for the duration of the crisis. By aligning each of these actions with our purpose, employees know that we are the same company that we were before COVID-19 came to our shores.
These organizational communication guidelines have proven to be an effective and invaluable way of ensuring our Gas South team feels supported, informed and cared for throughout this time of transition until we can see each other in person again.
Chances are, you’re spending more time at home right now, and that means your electricity meter is putting in some overtime. Now’s a great time to look at a few simple ways to conserve energy.
We’ll skip washing dishes by hand and hanging wet laundry outside on a line this week. Of course, those are always good options to cut energy costs, too. But today’s minds have come up with lots of great devices that can make a noticeable difference in your energy consumption. And maybe you haven’t heard about them, so let’s look at a few.
An Eye for Energy
When you want to cut energy costs, you’ll have to know where you’re using it most. An energy monitoring system can help. Devices such as Sense can show you which appliances are using the most power and when. Sense tracks usage by day, week, month and billing cycle, so you’ll get a complete picture of where you can save. It’s relatively easy to install, meaning you can do it without calling in a professional. And because it’s built with smart technology, you can monitor energy use from anywhere with your phone.
Start With a Strip
You might be surprised how much money some of your devices, sometimes called energy vampires, are sucking out of your wallet or pocketbook. Video game consoles, phone chargers and coffee makers—anything connected by a wall wart or brick or that has a standby light or clock—will keep consuming energy, even when they’re not being used. Some estimates suggest that energy vampires can account for 20% of your power bill.
You can help the situation by unplugging devices you don’t use on a regular basis. Or better yet, consider getting a smart power strip. They’re able to detect when a device is in standby mode and then cut the flow of power to help you conserve electricity.
Fine Tune Those Temps
Home heating and cooling make up the biggest energy expense in the U.S.—about 47% of the average homeowner’s bill. Luckily, we’ve got gadgets like the Google Nest Learning Thermostat to help take up the slack. The Nest Thermostat learns the temperatures you like, then programs itself to help you save up to 10% on heating and 15% on cooling. And because it’s a smart device, you can control it from anywhere with your phone, laptop or tablet, even when you’re on the go.
Automate Your Lights
Maybe you’re good at turning lights off whenever you leave a room, but that doesn’t mean everyone in your household is. So, if you’re tired of constantly reminding others to flip the switch, consider motion-detecting smart lights. They’ll save you a bundle on your energy costs.
You’re halfway there if you’ve already go smart light bulbs. You’ll just need a compatible sensor for each living space you want to control. And if you don’t have smart bulbs, you can purchase complete kits with bulbs, sensors and everything you’ll need to get started. The sensors detect whenever some leaves (or enters) a room, ending your duties with the light police.
If that’s too extreme for you, consider purchasing smart bulbs by themselves. You’ll be able to control them from anywhere with your phone, whether you’re out on the town or just relaxing on your couch.
We hope these ideas help you cut costs. Saving energy is good for your bank account, and it’s good for the environment.
ATLANTA (April 7, 2020) – Gas South, one of the Southeast’s leading natural gas providers, announced it will donate more than $1 million this year to support families throughout Georgia and Florida impacted by COVID-19.
Because the need for community assistance is so urgent, Gas South will deploy $850,000 of COVID-19 relief funds in the month of April. Additionally, the company increased annual funding to four of its primary non-profit partners with the broadest capacity to reach those in our community affected by COVID-19: the United Way, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT) and YMCA of Metro Atlanta.
Also receiving immediate funding as part of Gas South’s ongoing mission to “Be a Fuel for Good” are Ser Familia, The Salvation Army and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
“The difficulties presented by COVID-19 to our community and nation are unprecedented, and we want to support our neighbors with these donations while encouraging others to join,” said Kevin Greiner, Gas South president and CEO. “We have partnered with each of these incredible organizations in the past, so we’re confident in their ability to put these donations to work effectively and immediately.”
While Gas South’s community assistance annual giving typically includes smaller donations to dozens of local causes over the course of a year – and focuses almost exclusively on programs for children in need – Gas South will now commit more dollars to fewer organizations while expanding the focus to also include programs providing utility payment assistance and support for unemployed restaurant and hotel workers.
The donations to these non-profit partners represent substantial increases over prior year funding, including:
- United Ways in Atlanta and Florida will receive $250,000, more than triple the funding provided by Gas South last year. This includes $150,000 to United Way of Greater Atlanta, which is directing some of its funding to address the digital divide – the significant disparities in students’ access to in-home learning devices and internet access – which is essential to enabling students to keep up with their schoolwork remotely. PowerMyLearning is one of the organizations aiding in this effort. Gas South’s relief funds also include $50,000 for unemployed restaurant workers in partnership with the Georgia Restaurant Association, and $50,000 to Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami.
- Atlanta Community Food Bank, which distributes more than 60 million meals across north Georgia, will be the beneficiary of $200,000 – 20 times the previous year’s amount. Funding will support feeding children who are out of school and have no access to school pantries and free/reduced lunches. This donation also supports the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association to provide food for hotel workers.
- YMCA of Metro Atlanta, which provides programming for all ages and hunger relief for thousands of children and families, will receive $150,000 – more than four times the previous year’s funding. Gas South’s gift will provide essential childcare for first responders and healthcare staff at one location — serving up to 50 children — for eight weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT), which helps low-income families and individuals across Georgia pay their heating bills, will receive $150,000 – five times the amount Gas South donated last year. These funds will provide heat for over 1,000 individuals who are unable to pay their bills due to these extenuating circumstances.
- Ser Familia, which helps Latino youth, couples, parents and families through educational programs, will receive $75,000 – more than seven times the previous year’s donation. The funds will address basic needs of families in the Hispanic community impacted by COVID-19.
- The Salvation Army will receive $50,000, with $20,000 donated in April for COVID-19 relief efforts and $30,000 in October for Project Share, The Salvation Army's utility assistance initiative.
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul will receive $45,000, which will go toward providing basic needs for families.
Each of the donations will be allocated to initiatives and programs that support families and children in our community most impacted by COVID-19. For example, grocery stores have become barren, and the need for food and supplies is so great, that the Atlanta Community Food Bank has become the main grocery store for families. Yet, it has been a struggle for the non-profit to keep its shelves stocked.
“With so many people stocking up at the grocery stores, we’ve lost about a third of what we normally get from stores and general donations,” says Kyle Waide, president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “This tremendous donation from Gas South will enable us to purchase nutritious food faster for our families in desperate need.”
The suspension of public school for the remainder of the year has put additional strain on parents, especially those who are on the front lines and not able to care for their children while working from home.
“Our childcare program is open to the brave individuals who are working to meet the needs of the community, including medical professionals, law enforcement, grocery workers, and others who cannot work from home at this time,” said Lauren Koontz, YMCA of Metro Atlanta president and CEO. “The support of Gas South enables the YMCA to truly deliver on our promise of service to those who turn to us for community and to those who turn to us for survival. We are extremely grateful for their commitment and contribution to our collective efforts during this crisis."
We’ve all been there—that place where you keep putting things off because they don’t seem like a big deal at first. Houseplants shrivel from lack of water. That expired container of milk gets pushed farther and farther to the back of the fridge. That bit of lint between the dryer and the wall grows into an entire colony of evil dust bunnies.
Life gets busy, and the small things are easy to brush off. But some of these seemingly small things shouldn’t be ignored.
The filters in your home’s heating and air system are a great example. They help keep contaminants out of the air, which helps keep you and your loved ones healthier. And they also prevent your system from working too hard, which saves you money and helps prolong your system’s life.
When Should I Change My Air Filters?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this. There are lots of variables to consider. But a good general rule of thumb in an average home with no pets using 1 to 3-inch thick pleated filters is to change them out every three months. But there are other variables to consider:
Does The Type Of Filter I Have Matter?
There are three main types for residential home use–fiberglass, pleated and washable—as well as different thicknesses and rating levels, all of which can affect when it’s time to replace a filter.
- Fiberglass filters are your cheapest option, but they should be swapped out once a month. They’re easy to replace, but they just don’t have the filtering abilities of the other types.
- Pleated filters, made from polyester or cotton paper, are designed to filter out finer particles of dirt and dust. They typically cost more than fiberglass filters, but they also last longer—from 30 to 90 days. They’re easy to replace, and most are recyclable. For more on the advantages of pleated filters, check out this article by our partner Second Nature.
- Washable filters never need to be replaced—they just need to be washed out regularly. They’re also the most expensive option ($50 and up) but are also one of the most efficient filter types. In some models, the air coursing through them creates an electrostatic charge that helps collect even more dirt and debris from the air. Washable filters should be washed once a month.
Additionally, having a thicker-than-average filter—over 3 inches—will mean you won’t have to change it as often.
What If I Have Cats Or Dogs?
You’ll probably want to change your filters our at least every two months if you’re using a standard pleated style.
What If I Have Allergies, Asthma Or Respiratory Issues?
Consider changing your filters every 20 to 45 days.
What If I Have Small Children In My Home?
Keep indoor air quality high for kids and replace those filters about every two months.
Does It Matter How Big My Home Is?
If your home is bigger than average, it’s likely your system is bigger and is processing more air. And in most cases, that means you’ll want to change your filters more frequently. If your filters are thicker than 3 inches, they’ll likely last longer than average.
What If The Air Quality In My City Is Poor?
Smog and dust in cities with higher levels of air pollution will make your system work harder, and that, too, will require more frequent filter changes. And you’ll also want to switch out old filters more often if you’re doing any kind of renovation work that creates dust.
What If I Have A Vacation Home?
In vacation homes and the like, where people aren’t staying for long periods of time, filters can last from 6 to 12 months.
What Is MERV And Does It Matter?
The MERV rating— Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value—is a standard that helps rate the overall effectiveness of a filter. The higher that number, which goes from 1 to 16, the better it is at removing smaller particles of dirt and dust. But you’ll want to make sure you don’t surpass the MERV rating your system is built for. A high MERV filter can cause problems with letting enough air through, which can overtax your system.
If you’ve decided to get a higher MERV rating filter that still works with your system, you might consider changing it more frequently, as it’s sure to collect more contaminants in a shorter period of time.
At Gas South, we’re always looking for ways to make your life run smoother. We hope this blog helps you understand a little more about home heating and cooling air filters.
On February 13th, 2020, Gas South and Cobb EMC broke ground on an innovative renewable energy project with a focus on the future, ensuring a greener outlook for both companies. This project includes both solar energy and battery storage.
“We’re committed to affordable, renewable energy and redefining what it means to be an energy expert,” said Peter Heintzelman, Cobb EMC president and CEO. “This project enables us to test the performance advantage and resiliency of solar panels and battery storage, which will benefit Cobb EMC members for decades to come. We’re proud to support sustainability efforts that make financial sense for all of our members.”
An estimated 1.85 MW of solar and 1 MW/4 MWh of battery storage is being added to the Cobb EMC campus to help power its operations. For perspective, that is enough energy to power approximately 200 homes for an entire year. This innovative method of renewable energy storage will also help the cooperative learn how to better support solar and battery projects for large customers. In April, Cobb EMC will add to the project and unveil three Smartflowers along Hwy 41, which can provide an additional 13,140 kWh of energy and afford the cooperative an approachable opportunity to educate the public about renewable energy.
This project is owned by Gas South for Cobb EMC to support future sustainable energy efforts for both companies. This arrangement provides Cobb EMC with the solar and battery output for 10 years and will enable Cobb EMC to share solar energy back to the grid during certain periods of time. “Together, we’re committed to renewable energy that will pave the way for a more sustainable future for our communities,” said Kevin Greiner, Gas South president and CEO. “As a subsidiary of Cobb EMC, we are excited to work with our parent company on this innovative project.”
The rooftop solar and energy storage solutions were developed by Creative Solar USA and Northern Reliability and are slated for completion by May 2020.
“The team at Creative Solar USA is proud to play a role in this important project, which will not only provide competitive renewable energy to the grid but serve as a learning tool for future projects,” said Russell Seifert, CEO of Creative Solar USA. “I founded this company to be a cutting-edge leader in our evolving energy market and this project is a standing example of our commitment to clean, economical electricity for our fellow Georgians.”
Cobb EMC is one of the first electric cooperatives in the nation to install battery storage and rooftop solar to power its operations. The cooperative recognizes that while renewable energy and battery storage will play a significant role in transitioning to a lower carbon future, consumers need guidance from their electricity providers. Along with Gas South, Cobb EMC stands ready to lead the change.
Cobb EMC’s commitment to sustainability and innovation is mirrored in the cooperative’s renewable energy portfolio. Cobb EMC currently offers Renewable Energy Credits to our members as part of our ongoing sustainability strategy.
Cobb EMC is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative. The company safely delivers reliable electricity to more than 200,000 residential and commercial consumers in Cobb, Bartow, Cherokee, Fulton, and Paulding counties. Cobb EMC is consistently recognized for low-cost, reliable power, a commitment to renewable energy and giving back to the communities it serves. Cobb EMC is one of the largest EMCs in the nation, and the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Gas South is a leading provider of natural gas in the Southeast. For more information, visit www.cobbemc.com.
Creative Solar USA is a Georgia-based, turn-key installer of innovative solar panel systems, dedicated to alternative energy solutions for your home or business. Since 2008 their NABCEP
certified installers have ensured our clients receive the highest quality solar energy systems in the industry. For more information, visit www.CreativeSolarUSA.com.
Northern Reliability (“NRI”), based in Waterbury, Vermont, is an engineering and technology firm that designs, procures, installs, and supports stand-alone electric power and energy storage systems for utilities and governments across the United States and abroad. NRI, whose team was formed in the early 1970’s, boasts over 1000 systems deployed around the globe on all seven continents and is likely the oldest operating engineering group in the storage sector. For more information, visit www.northernreliability.com.
Click here to learn more about Gas South's sustainability efforts.
Photo by Pamela Dabrowa Photography
Last week, we discussed what our 2019 general impact investment winners were able to accomplish with their earnings. We also shared the goals that our 2020 general impact investment winners are looking to accomplish with their investment winnings.
This week, we're focusing on what our 2019 winners were able to accomplish for their non-profit organizations and the goals for our 2020 illness and disability winners.
2020 Illness and Disability Investment Winners
Shepherd Center's mission is to help people with a temporary or permanent disability caused by injury or disease, rebuild their lives with hope, independence and dignity, advocating for their full inclusion in all aspects of community life while promoting safety and injury prevention.
The Gas South impact investment funds will be used to purchase an adapted minivan to provide transportation for more individualized outings. Ensuring their young patients (as well as their general patient population) can venture out into the community feeling more confident and with a sense of belonging.
Additionally, an outing in a minivan vs. a Shepherd bus allows patients to experience an adapted vehicle and is often a catalyst for patients and families purchasing a vehicle that can be used and driven by their adolescent patients. Driving or returning to driving is often one of the primary goals of their teen patients.
Sunshine on a Ranney Day
The mission of Sunshine on a Ranney Day is to renovate homes for children with long term illnesses and special needs. Sunshine on a Ranney Day renovates homes for children with long-term illnesses, disabilities, and special needs so that they can safely live in their own homes with their own families.
Each year, they help around 20 children by providing them with life-changing modifications (in addition to the large-scale, special project they complete each year in the community). This year, they have 13 children that are still waiting for their modifications. Each child has a specific project budget that will address their unique needs. The funding from our Gas South impact investment will be used to outfit a home with a wheelchair accessible bathroom and bedroom for a child.
Training and Counseling Center (TACC)
TACC offers affordable counseling services specifically to the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged. TACC has recently added a new counselor specifically to serve low-income and disadvantaged children due to the ever-increasing need for mental health services for the youngest community members. The Gas South Innovation Investment of $10,000 will provide 100 sessions to underserved and vulnerable children and youth in metro Atlanta.
2019 Illness and Disability Investment Winners
Bert’s Big Adventure
Gas South’s Impact Investment allowed Bert’s Big Adventure to impact families at their Family Orientation, Send Off Celebration, Walt Disney World, and Spring Reunion. At the family orientation, they were able to surprise 8 children and 31 family members with the news they were headed to Walt Disney World! At the Sendoff, Gas South granted a child (Alex) and his family of 5, with a 4-night Disney cruise in September 2019. While at Disney World, 12 children were able to have princess and pirate makeovers and dance parties with characters. In May, over 450 family members gathered at the Fernbank Museum for a Spring Reunion. All the children that Bert’s Big Adventure touches have a difficult life because they are dealing with terminal illnesses. The Gas South impact investment helped to give them precious time and memories with their families that they otherwise would not experience.
“We are beyond grateful for the continued support (not just financially) from the Gas South team – you are truly a unique organization dedicated to giving back in our community.” Molly Parish, Executive Director.
Camp Twin Lakes
Camp Twin Lakes provides a place where children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and life challenges can discover and be their best selves. Our Gas South 2019 investment helped Camp Twin Lakes serve children with limb deficiencies or defects, cancer, Type I diabetes, Tourette syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, developmental disabilities, organ transplants, spina bifida, and congenital insensitivity to pain, as well as children in foster care, children with an incarcerated parent, kids who have lost a parent serving in the military or have active military parents, and those who have experienced a loss.
Gas South's investment of $50,000 allowed Camp Twin Lakes to transform the lives of 91 children and teens with special healthcare needs and life challenges. This program provides a 70% scholarship ($550) for every camper served, funding camper food, fully-accessible housing, and all program supplies and equipment. Because of supporters like Gas South, we were able to provide a scholarship to 100% of our campers, and more than 70% attended Camp last summer at no cost at all!
Gas South will partner with each of the winning organizations to track and measure the impact that our investments are having. Our employees will also have the opportunity to engage in volunteer activities with the winners throughout the rest of our fiscal year.
As a leading provider of natural gas throughout the southeastern U.S., Gas South has taken a close look at how we can make sure our success as a company directly benefits the communities we serve. Through volunteerism, charity partnerships and ongoing financial support, we’re helping people in our community fulfill their potential with the hope that, one day, they’ll join us in being a fuel for good.
Thanks to our friends at Bert's Big Adventure for providing the photo for this article.
In 2019, Gas South awarded $300,000 to six local nonprofit organizations - Atlanta Mission, Kate’s Club, Los Niños Primero, Nana Grants, Shepherd Center and Sunshine on a Ranney Day were all recipients of $50,000 each. Additionally, Covenant House of Georgia, Girls, Inc. and Training and Counseling Center were awarded $10,000 each.
Gas South makes it our mission to be a fuel for good for the community we serve. We strive to put our customers, employees and our community first in everything we do. Donating 5% of our profits to children in need is a core pillar of our mission to be a fuel for good, but you may be wondering how exactly those funds are allocated.
The Gas South investments address three main types of needs:
- Basic needs
- Illness and disability
Let’s take a look at how Gas South’s past basic needs investment winners were able to make a difference in our Georgia community in 2019, and how the 2020 basic needs winners are planning to use the investment funds this year.
2020 Basic Needs Investment Winners
Covenant House of Georgia
Covenant House of Georgia (CHGA) is Atlanta’s only homeless shelter serving youth ages 18 to 21. Most of their youth are African American (80%) and the remainder are Caucasian (10%) and Latino (10%). About one-third were in the foster care system and more than half have a history with the criminal justice system. Covenant House will be providing interview and work attire for 200 youth in their vocational program with the $10,000 Innovation Investment from Gas South.
Atlanta Mission provides each child that comes to them for help, basic needs and services that include shelter, bedding, meals, shower, essential healthcare, laundry facilities, childcare, afterschool and preschool programming, and other social services.
With an Impact Investment grant from Gas South, at the cost of about $30 per day, they will provide over 1,600 children with a bed and bedding, meals, showers, essential healthcare, daycare, preschool programming, school uniforms, school supplies, and other necessities.
When a child arrives with his or her mother at the doorstep of their Atlanta Day Shelter, they immediately begin meeting their basic needs. They provide three hot meals per day, showers, essential healthcare, laundry facilities, and a safe, secure place to sleep. In addition to a bed, they provide each individual their own sheet set, blanket, and pillow to help them find comfort off the streets.
Children are also given a bunk bag, which contains games, coloring books, and other stimulating activities to allow them a sense of play and normalcy amidst the chaos of homelessness. Infants and young children are enrolled in our quality childcare program, and school-aged children are enrolled in Centennial Academy Charter School to ensure educational stability and growth while they stay with them.
Kate’s Club empowers children facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. Kate’s Club serves children in the greater metro Atlanta area, from five to 18 years old, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver at no cost to the child’s family.
Kate’s Club will use our funding to support their Clubhouse Services and Camp Good Mourning. Camp Good Mourning is a bi-annual two-night, three-day retreat held at Camp Twin Lakes in Winder, Georgia. Their members participate in both camp recreation and therapeutic activities.
Their approach is two-fold: 1) they provide therapeutic services children need to grieve and cope with their loss and 2) they provide fun, recreational activities, which encourage them the be a kid in an environment where their peers are experiencing a similar loss. As with their other programs, they experienced an increased need for Camp Good Mourning – funding will help expand the number of children who could attend Camp Good Mourning in April 2020.
2019 Basic Needs Investment Winners
Street Grace is a faith-driven organization that collaborates with faith, business and community leaders providing a comprehensive path to end the sexual exploitation of minors. CSEC involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, and/or the obtaining of a child under the age of 18 for the purpose of a commercial sex act. Street Grace mobilizes community resources – financial, human, and material – to fight CSEC through prevention/protection, policy and pursuit.
The Gas South Impact Investment was the final piece of funding needed for the development of a self-contained online toolkit that can be distributed to any school that wants to implement the Youth Education Initiative. The Youth Education Initiative is a student-led prevention program that partners with middle and high schools to teach children about commercial sexual exploitation, how to recognize it, talk about it, report it, and protect themselves and their friends against it.
In 2018, Street Grace reached over 61,000 youth with this critical message. Currently, creative production, including building and producing files for all educational materials to be placed on the website, is underway along with a strategic social media campaign to support the expanding initiative.
The final phase of this project involves testing and then finally, implementation of the Online Toolkit within Dekalb Public Schools and Atlanta Public Schools, reaching 72 middle and high schools and approximately 100,000 students in the 2019/2020 school year.
“These exciting updates would not be possible without the financial support and trust of partners like Gas South. Thank you for believing in us and supporting us in such a substantial way.” – Bob Rodgers, President/CEO Street Grace
The Gas South Impact Investment directly impacted vulnerable young people in the residential programs and wrap-around services in 2019. The investment provided shelter to 518 youth seeking refuge from the streets of Atlanta. It also helped 119 youth to advance their education by registering for and taking the GED, applying to college and completing FAFSA applications. Finally, the investment trained and certified 48 youth in specialized vocational programs that provided skills and knowledge to meet current demand in the job market.
An example of the Gas South impact is Leigha. She came to Covenant House nearly a year ago with an extensive history of homelessness, abandonment and neglect. Leigha expressed interest in becoming a dietitian, so she enrolled in the Health Technology and Administration certification program. She excelled in her studies, gained full-time employment and successfully transitioned to the independent living program. She is currently enrolled at Perimeter College for the fall semester.
“We know it was the generous spirits of the Gas South team members that made this grant possible! Please pass along our sincerest appreciation and know that your support ensures that we can continue providing the services needed to triage, stabilize, and heal this vulnerable population.” – Dr. Alieizsoria Redd, Executive Director
2020 Vision: Looking Ahead
As a leading provider of natural gas in the southeastern U.S., Gas South has taken a close look at how we can make sure our success as a company directly benefits the communities we serve. We believe our communities are strongest when children are well and have opportunities to reach their full potential. This means helping families build strong foundations, helping to meet their basic needs and providing positive pathways for kids. That’s why we’ve committed 5% of our profits to help children in need.
Through volunteerism, charity partnerships and ongoing financial support, we’re helping people in our community fulfill their potential with the hope that, one day, they’ll join us in being a fuel for good.
And we couldn't do it without you.
As we look back on 2019, we‘re grateful for the opportunity to serve our customers—and our community.
As part of our mission to Be A Fuel For Good, we are committed to giving back 5% of our profits to help children in need. We're proud to work with local partners to provide financial assistance in three key areas:
Through your continued support, we’re warming the lives of kids in our community during the holidays and throughout the year.
Thank you for being a part of it all!
If you’re like most of us, you feel good when you’re able to cut down on your home energy use. It saves money, and it helps preserve the planet. But it can mean a lot of money up front if you want to tile your roof with solar panels or replace all those old drafty windows.
Thankfully, there are lots of great ways to save energy without busting the bank. This week, we’re looking at one of the best ways to do that: the Google Nest Learning Thermostat.
In the typical U.S. home, heating and cooling make up the biggest energy expense—about 50%. That’s more than double what all of a home’s electronics and appliances consume (21%).
But the Nest Learning Thermostat helps level the playing field, cutting up to 12% on heating and up to 15% on cooling, all by itself. And here’s how:
When you’re at home the first few days after your new thermostat has been installed, it learns the temperatures you like, based on your initial settings. Then it programs itself, turning the temperature up or down (depending on the season) when you’re not around to help save energy.
And it’s smart enough to understand your home, recognizing how long it takes to heat or cool. When it’s really cold out and you’ve been at work all day, for example, the Nest Learning Thermostat knows how long it needs to start heating to get your home comfy by the time you walk in the door. And it knows when to shut it off to keep your home in that optimal range.
It’s a pretty good teacher, too. With the Nest Leaf icon that appears on the thermostat’s display or on the Nest app, you’ll learn which settings are the most energy efficient. These are preset, so you can hit the ground running right after your thermostat is installed. Later, it’ll personalize these settings to your home after the thermostat has been working for a while. And did you know the thermostat’s display can even remind you when it’s time to change your HVAC system’s filter?
The Nest is easy to install. In most cases, it just takes a few minutes. And Google Nest has a great support site to help, should you need it. Or they’ll even help you find a Nest Pro to assist with installation if you’re having difficulty. And once it’s set up, you can control the thermostat from anywhere with your phone, laptop or tablet.
At Gas South, natural gas safety is a priority. That’s why we’re here to give you tips on detecting gas leaks in your house, on what to do if you have a leak, and on how to prevent them.
Natural gas leaks can be a real threat if they go undetected or ignored. As a highly combustible material, gas leaks can lead to fires or explosions, and it can also cause sickness in residents. If you suspect you have a leak in your gas line, call Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) at 877-427-4321 or call 911 to report a gas leak.
How to Detect a Natural Gas Leak
The most common way to detect a gas leak is by its smell, which is similar to the smell of rotten eggs. If you smell a leak, leave the area immediately and stay away until assistance arrives.
A leak can also be detected by a hissing sound emitted where the gas escapes the line. If a leak is audible, it is likely a substantial leak and should be reported at once. A leak in a buried gas line can also be indicated by discolored vegetation, blowing dirt or continued bubbling water around the compromised line.
How to Report a Natural Gas Leak
Customers in Georgia should call Atlanta Gas Light at 877-427-4321 or call 911 to report a gas leak.
If you smell or hear a leak in your gas line, you should always report it. Never try to find the leak yourself. If you suspect you do have a leak, it is especially important that you don’t use any devices that might create a spark including lighters, light switches, phones or electric appliances. Exit the premises at once, report the leak and wait for professional assistance.
How to prevent a gas leak
There are a number of ways to prevent gas leaks and keep your home or business safe. Our top recommendations for safely using natural gas in your home are:
- Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.
- Check your pilot lights and burners for a steady, blue flame. If you see the blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception – the flame is usually yellow.)
- 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).
- Store household chemicals or combustible materials away from gas appliances.
- Call 811 before you dig, so underground lines can be marked.
- Every year or two, have a professional inspect your gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business.
- When moving or installing a gas appliance, or changing a connector, always enlist the help of a professional.
We hope you never have to deal with a gas leak but if you do, now you know how to act quickly and keep everyone involved safe.
Why does natural gas smell like rotten eggs?
By itself, natural gas has no odor or color, so natural gas distributers began adding a chemical called mercaptan to it in the late 1930s as a safety measure. The foul, rotten-egg smell of mercaptan makes it easier to detect leaks.
The less energy you use, the less you spend on bills – it’s that simple. But using less energy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing comfort. Using the tips below will not only save energy (and money) but will keep you warm and comfy all winter long.
With that said, DON’T turn the heat off while you’re away. It takes more energy to bring your home back to a comfortable temperature, and your pipes could burst if the temperature drops below freezing. Instead, simply lower your thermostat down a few degrees.2. Invest in a programmable or smart thermostat
Programming your thermostat enables you to lower the temperature when you are at work or asleep to conserve energy and raise the temperature before you return home to maximize comfort. The majority of programmable thermostats allow you to set multiple time frames and temperatures to fit your lifestyle. We recommend smart thermostats, such as the Nest, as they can save you 10 to 12 percent in heating costs. See our top reasons to get a smart thermostat here.3. Flip your fan switch
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, you’ll want to flip that when you turn your heat on, making your fan’s blades spin clockwise. This causes the fan to produce an updraft, forcing the hot air that rises to your ceiling down and into the rest of the room.4. Open blinds and drapes during the day and close them at night
During the day, let the sunshine in through your windows for added warmth. At night, make sure all windows are covered to prevent drafts and loss of heat through the glass.5. Move furniture away from vents
Take a quick look around the house and double-check that none of the vents are blocked. If they are, find a way to move your furniture, at least for the winter. This will make sure every room is reaching its maximum warming potential.6. Direct the heat to the rooms you use the most
Speaking of ensuring each room reaches maximum heat, closing the doors and vents to unused rooms will help focus the home heating efforts to the important portions.7. Be mindful of wood-burning fireplaces
It may be warm right by the crackling flames, but all the heat being exhausted up through the fireplace pulls cold air into the house elsewhere. Be sure to use a glass front for your fireplace and remember to keep the flue closed when the fireplace isn’t in use to help keep most of the heated air in your home from escaping up the chimney once the flames have gone out.8. Seal ducts and plug door and window leaks
Check the tightness of air ducts and be sure to plug any visible open spots with insulation material. While you’re at it, check your doors and windows — they could be responsible for wasting 10% of your energy costs. Fix these leaks by installing weather-stripping or caulk around drafty doors and windows. Electrical outlets in exterior walls are also an extremely common cause of heat loss in your home, as are the gaps around water pipes where they pass through walls. Make sure you inspect these areas of your home and seal up any cracks to further reduce heating costs.9. Increase ceiling insulation
Looking for a quick 5-25% reduction in heating loss? You can find it right above your head. If your ceiling isn’t properly insulated, it’s letting warm air out and raising your heating costs as your thermostat works constantly to keep the temperature up. For best results, consider increasing your insulation to R-38.10. Maintain your heating system
Keep the filter clean and hire a licensed contractor to inspect your unit. If your unit has been in use for 15 years or longer, consider getting an upgrade for improved efficiency.11. Add layers to wood floors
Uninsulated wood floors can account for up to 10% of a home’s heat loss. Carpets and rugs keep rooms warmer. Add a rug or roll of carpet to trap heat and protect your feet.12. Switch to a fixed-rate plan
Variable-rate plans fluctuate every month according to market conditions. That means what you pay per therm this month could be more, less, or the same as the previous month. Fixed rates, on the other hand, are locked and remain unchanged throughout the term of your contract — usually 6, 12, 18 or 24 months. Fixed rates are lower than variable rates and a consistent rate helps you better manage your winter heating budget. Learn more about fixed vs variable rates.13. Wear warm clothes
This is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to lower your gas 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, sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt, or sweater can help keep you warm without having to raise your thermostat temperature and therefore your natural gas usage.14.Trim Those Trees
Although not so much an issue of energy efficiency, ailing trees and limbs near your home can certainly create a hazardous situation when the weather gets bad. High winds and ice can send limbs and tress crashing to the ground, through windows, walls or onto your roof. Besides the damage to your home, there’s also the chance that people get hurt from this.
Before the weather gets too bad or before the first snow, look around your yard and home for signs of dead trees and branches. Remove what you can yourself, or have a reputable tree service come out and take care of the problem.
Here are a few things to look for when deciding if trees or branches are dead:
● Trees or branches were leafless throughout the spring and summer
● Dead leaves cling to branches while other branches are already bare
● Exposed wood where bark has fallen off/rotten, crumbly areas
● Large fungus inhabiting sections of trunk or branches
There you have it – a winter survival guide that leaves you warm and stress-free financially. If you need help getting your natural gas up and running this winter, drop us a line!
And we couldn’t do it without you.
As we look back on 2018, we‘re grateful for the opportunity to serve our customers—and our community.
We’re committed to giving back 5% of our profits to help children in need and proud to work with local partners to provide financial assistance in three key areas:
Through your continued support, we’re warming the lives of kids in our community during the holidays and throughout the year.
Thank you for being a part of it all!
If you’re making your list and checking it twice, finding extra ways to save energy is always nice. Here’s how to cut back on your home-heating expenses this holiday season:
- Ask Santa to upgrade your thermostat. Investing in a newer thermostat (and programming it to lower the temperature certain times of the day in the winter) can save consumers more than 15% on energy costs.
- Let the sunshine in. Keep draperies and shades open during the day but remember to close them at night to reduce chill and cut down on drafts from cold windows.
- Deck the halls with LED lights. LED Christmas lights use 90% less electricity than regular Christmas lights and you can purchase them for about $10 a strand.
- Bake several dishes at once. If you’ll be doing a lot of cooking this season, take advantage of the energy that goes into warming your oven by baking as many dishes at once as possible.
- Turn lamps off when the tree is lit. You’ll have plenty of light (and can enjoy the peaceful ambiance) simply by using the light of the Christmas tree to illuminate the room.
- Lower the thermostat when the party starts. While hosting guests, turn down the heat since holiday cooking and having a few extra warm bodies automatically raises the temperature in your home.
- Find and seal leaks. Be sure to seal air leaks around pipes, chimneys, outlets and unfinished spaces. Don’t forget to caulk or weather-strip drafty doors and windows.
- Put holiday lights on a timer. Set the timer to turn lights on when it gets dark and off at bedtime. Aim to keep Christmas lights on for less than six hours a day.
- Close the damper when the fire is off. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like leaving a window wide open because it allows air to escape out of the chimney.
- Unplug electronics before leaving town. TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, radios and many other electronics use energy even when they aren’t turned on. Take the time to disconnect these phantom energy users before going away for the holidays.
For year-round savings, visit GasSouth.com. Happy holidays from your friends at Gas South!
Whether it’s crisp, fall air or an Indian Summer you’re feeling, now’s the time to make sure your natural gas service connection has been scheduled. As the cold weather approaches and thousands of residents and businesses turn on their gas supply, it can take about a week for Atlanta Gas Light to get you connected – so don’t wait until it’s cold to sign up. Stay warm this winter with no delay!
Sign up for natural gas service connection here or call us at 866-762-6427.
Reading a gas meter isn’t what you’d call easy, so we’ve broken it down into basic steps to help you make sense of it all.
There are two types of meters—a rolling digit meter and a dial meter.
Reading a digital meter is a no-brainer because you read it from left to right just like you’d read the odometer on a car.
Reading a dial gas meter, on the other hand, can be more challenging since there are typically four or five dials running both clockwise and counterclockwise.
To read a gas meter with dials, follow these steps:
- Read only the dials with numbers. Read them from left to right. Record the number each hand points to. When the hand is between numbers, use the smaller number.
- Keep this reading and read your meter one month later. The difference between the two readings is the amount of energy you used during the month.
- Remember, your numbers may differ slightly from the numbers on your bill unless you read your meter at the exact same time as your meter reader.
Keep in mind, Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) reads your meter each month since they own and maintain the gas pipelines and your meter. They’ve gotten meter-reading down to a science. And now you have a better understanding of it as well!
Let’s face it, moving gets a bad rap. But with planning and organization it can be a breeze. We’ve put together this simple checklist for you to follow during your next move to help keep you on-schedule and stress-free (or at least less stressed).
At Gas South, we try to make moving as simple as possible by letting you schedule service as far as 90 days in advance and offering $25 in bill credits when you transfer or sign up for service. Learn more about our moving and setting up natural gas.
Brenda Turner, senior residential channel coordinator, is passionate about her job here at Gas South, as well as her role as a mentor for kids in our community.
In 2015, she started teaching and mentoring students every Sunday as a small group leader at Decatur City Church. Brenda has witnessed the eight students grow from preschoolers to second graders after spending her Sundays with them for the last three years. She teaches them weekly life lessons, listens to their stories with enthusiasm and is continuing to set an example for kids on what it means to serve others.
Volunteering as a small group leader is fulfilling Brenda’s urge to look beyond herself to do something greater. She started volunteering as a mentor at Woodson Park Academy – a Title 1 school – in August 2017. Of the students enrolled at Woodson, 98 percent are eligible for free or reduced lunches, which is an indication of the need within the community.
“I’ll never forget the day I met my mentee,” Brenda said. “I walked into the school and they announced her name. Everyone started cheering and celebrating. It was like she won the lottery and it was just me meeting her for lunch.”
The program pairs volunteers with elementary students, and then volunteers are asked to visit the school once a month to spend an hour with the mentee. During that hour, volunteers teach the students a different virtue each month, and provide games and fun activities to do together.
“Obstacles we think will keep us from volunteering are not really obstacles at all,” Brenda added. “We often discredit what we have to give. The look on my mentee's face when she sees me every month shows me that I’m a part of something special.”
Gas South employees are given eight hours of paid volunteer time a year, and since the volunteer program is eight sessions, Brenda is able to use those hours to give back to children in need. And for one little girl, that makes all the difference in the world.
Thank you, Brenda, for showing us all what it means to be a fuel for good.
A couple months ago, we talked about our company’s purpose: Be a Fuel for Good, and we’ve been very busy since then, so here’s an update on what we’ve been up to!
Our goal is to give back more than a million dollars by 2020 which we’re doing by giving back 5% of our profits to help children in need. By focusing on nonprofits, startups and sponsorships who share our passion for supporting local families, we believe we can make the biggest impact in our community.
Here are a few examples of the ways we’ve been putting our time, talent and financial contributions into action:
- In 2017, Gas South donated more than $411,000 to our community partners.
- During December, 38 employees volunteered in the community (out of a total of more than 200).
- Gas South supplied heating assistance to more than 86 families in need this winter.
- Employees raised more than $700 for the Salvation Army by ringing the Kettle Bells.
- In partnership with the Smyrna Police Department, Gas South sent 12 Cobb County kids shopping for Christmas gifts.
Being a Fuel for Good is about building partnerships large and small. Large partnerships like the Salvation Army, United Way, Junior Achievement, Must Ministries, Action Ministries and Title 1 Schools. And smaller partnerships like Pebbletossers and the Kell Robotics Team.
As Gas South enters its 12th year, everything we’ve done to this point has been about being a fuel for good. It’s part of the DNA of the people who make up this company. And it has the potential to grow.
For instance, Pebbletossers focuses on giving children volunteer opportunities to show them what it means to serve others. This relationship has the potential to become a movement in the sense that we’re not just supporting kids financially, we’re encouraging them to be a part of something bigger—something that will benefit them throughout their lives as well as the community.
It takes an army to make an impact. So when we talk about giving 5% of our profits back to our community, it’s not just a corporate check; it’s a corporate check with an army of volunteers behind it.
I’m incredibly proud of our employees, leadership and partners for working every day to make a difference in people’s lives. We want our customers to know that by being a customer, you’re helping make a difference too.
Basketball may be just a game for some people. But, Brandon Miller is not one of those people. The sport means so much more.
Brandon has been volunteering his time to coach a basketball team of 9- and 10-year-old boys through the City of Acworth’s Park and Recreation Department. Brandon combines his passion for sports and helping children to give back to the community that’s given him so much over the years.
“The young men on my team come from various backgrounds,” Brandon said. “They’re all in need of positive role models. Many of these kids live in single-parent homes and face daily challenges that no one should be subjected to.”
Brandon’s goal is to not only help kids improve their basketball skills, but to also show them someone in their life cares. He also believes children learn many lessons through sports which will help them navigate life: the importance of teamwork, the idea that hard work leads to results, how to persevere in the face of adversity, and what it means to keep a commitment.
“All of these lessons are transferable to everyday life, and they’re the lessons I hope to instill in each of these young men.”
The team, named Crimson Tide, practices two or three nights a week and has a game once a week. Brandon doesn’t take for granted the time he spends with the kids. Every interaction is meaningful; if they aren’t discussing basketball, they’re talking about school or their goals and dreams.
Through Gas South’s sponsorship with the Altanta Hawks, Brandon had the opportunity to take his team to a game in December. Most of the boys had never been to a professional sports game and many never dreamed they’d get that chance. Needless to say, they had a great time.
“The guys were so excited about seeing their favorite team play. I can’t express enough how happy they were that night. It was very moving to personally experience the impact of what we see as a small gesture – to these kids, it means so much more.”
And, it means something to Gas South as well.
Brandon Miller is a senior residential channel coordinator at Gas South. When he’s not helping build our multifamily business and spending time with family, you can find him setting an example of what it’s like to be a fuel for good for kids in our community.
Mentoring the Kell Robotics Team through the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Leadership Foundation takes real heart – something Rajiv Thomas, Gas South systems engineer, knows well.
The Kell Robotics Team is a group of about 16 high school students who participate in two regional competitions each year in hopes of making it to the state championship and ultimately, the world championship.
Every January, competing teams take part in a kickoff event at Georgia Tech where they’re tasked with building a robot in 60 days. That robot then has to complete a challenge to move forward in the competition.
Rajiv is part of a group of volunteers that mentor the team which meets at least twice a week to plan, design and build the amazingly efficient robot and ensure that it’s ready for the showdown.
Last year, the Kell Robotics’ team won the Chairman’s Award at the Georgia State Championships to make it to the world championship in Houston. And even though their robot didn’t place, the kids who get to learn from these experiences are the real winners.
“Anyone can build a robot and compete, “said Rajiv. “We push kids to problem solve on their own. We don’t do the work for them – we just guide them. It’s truly fulfilling to watch the kids think outside the box and work through obstacles.”
The Chairman’s Award recognizes teams for how they encourage STEM education – it honors the team that inspires others to get involved in STEM. The Kell Robotics Team has proudly won the award a few times.
“We encourage a love of STEM – and see our students become better people,” Rajiv added. “When we were at the World Competition, the team from Israel was not able to get their batteries through Homeland Security. Our students offered to let them borrow our batteries when we weren’t using them. That was a proud moment for me.”
Rajiv tirelessly encourages students to grow outside the classroom. He’s passionate about igniting the imaginations of young minds and is truly an inspiration to others who also have a desire to be a fuel for good.
When Gas South entered the natural gas market, we knew we could be a different kind of provider. Because we believe people are important—the customers we’ve come to know, the business owners we serve, and the coworkers who are family to us.
Our Purpose is to Be a Fuel for Good.
That means helping you save money with simple rate plans. Trusting you from the beginning by never asking for a deposit. And always treating you with dignity, honesty and respect.
It means letting our employees know that while their work is important—they're important, too. By helping pay for school and encouraging our employees to grow in their careers, we can make their lives better. That makes us better.
Being a fuel for good also means working to inspire others in the industry to do right by customers. When we focus on doing the right thing, everyone benefits—even our competition (and we’re okay with that).
We’re dedicated to making sure our success directly benefits our community. That’s why we’re committed to giving back 5% of our profits to help children in need.
We approach every day knowing we have an opportunity to improve people’s lives. Because we believe that, together, we can be a fuel for good.
During the next several months, we’re rolling out employee and partner stories that are examples of Being a Fuel for Good. Check back every week to read what inspire us!
Are you Being a Fuel for Good? Do you know someone who is a Fuel for Good? If so, let us know in the comments.
Moving can be a tricky task. With boxes, newspaper and tape galore, it’s easy to lose your wits. Keep your cool and hack your move with these five simple tips:
- Get to Moving: Getting started can be the hardest part! Get your toolbox ready and tighten your toolbelt with these moving day essentials: packing tape, colored tape, box cutter, gloves, plastic wrap, etc.
- Keep It Together: Trinkets, treasures and tiny gadgets become casualties of a move far too often. Here’s a simple fix: place a sheet of plastic wrap around your utensil tray to keep forks, knives, spoons and other kitchen gear together—just where it belongs. You can do the same with your jewelry or bathroom vanity tray.
- Don’t Whine Over Broken Glasses: Say ‘pass’ to broken glass. Grab an old wine box and get to packing! And if you don’t already have one at home, you can usually snag one for free at a local package store. Use the pre-cut section dividers to safely store each piece of glassware and prevent scratching, breaking, chipping or cracking.
- Color Code Your Move: Instead of writing room names on packing boxes, you can use color coded tape to label your boxes for the right room. Designate a color to each room—let’s say green for the living room and blue for the kitchen. You’ll keep your boxes organized and your head on your shoulders. And if you have movers, they will easily be able to know what goes where!
- Just Roll with It: Rock and roll your heavy items all the way to your new home with this hack: pack your heavy items in a rolling suitcase. This nifty tip will help you carry a lot while lifting a little.
For more moving tips and how-to videos, visit HackYourMove.com. And be sure to share your best moving advice on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #HackYourMove.
Gas South is Bringing the Heat again this baseball season to fuel the good that our local nonprofits do for those in need. We are donating $25 every time an Atlanta Braves pitcher throws a strikeout at home games.
Last year, we donated more than $61,000 which was split between The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta and the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Since the campaign’s inception in 2010, Gas South has contributed nearly $350,000 to local nonprofit organizations!
This year, Gas South is fueling another source of good – youth development. Did you know that one in five children, teens and families that go to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta need financial assistance to participate in the youth programs? The YMCA gives more than $161,000 in scholarships each year to kids that are unable to pay the program fee. In 2016, more than 23,500 kids across 20 branch locations participated in swimming, tennis, basketball, cheerleading, flag football, lacrosse, track and field, martial arts, and volleyball.
That’s why we are giving the donations for all Braves strikeouts thrown during April and May to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta – over $8,400!
The YMCA is dedicated to ensuring that no child is turned away, and we are proud that our partnership allows everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Texas-raised pitmasters and twin brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox are the dynamic duo behind Atlanta’s famed Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. And, they’re Gas South customer.
In honor of National Barbecue Month, the restaurant dished out their recipe for its signature charred grilled wings. The recipe is easy to follow and best suited for a natural gas grill. So go ahead… gather your guests and get to grillin’!
- 24 jumbo fresh, split wings (2 pieces, wing tips removed)
- Fox Bros. Dry Rub
- Fox Bros. Original Barbecue Sauce (½ bottle, poured in a bowl)
- Basting brush
- Meat thermometer
- Gas grill
- 2 cold beers (to enjoy while cooking)
Getting the Grill Ready
- Fire up that grill, and get it hot and ready. Start off on high heat to get the grill hot, or move heat to medium or medium-high if you are more comfortable cooking at that temperature.
- Use the zone method, where you’ll cook over both direct and indirect heat on the grill.
- Light one side of the grill. For example, light the left side if the burners run left to right, or light the back burner if they run front to back. This will be your direct cooking zone.
- Leave the opposite side off. This will be your indirect cooking zone, which will use the heat from the direct side when the lid is shut – like an oven.
Prepping the Wings
- Take the wings and rinse them.
- Pat them dry and place in a mixing bowl.
- Season liberally with Fox Bros. Dry Rub.
- Toss the wings with your hands to make sure the rub is evenly coated.)
Cooking the Wings
- Take the wings out to the grill, and place them on the direct cooking zone – evenly spaced and not touching one another. Make sure not to crowd them. If you can’t get all 24 wings on the direct cook zone at one time, then split up the cooking.
- This is where you will char the wings, giving them that great grill color. You don’t want to burn the wings, so keep an eye on them. After several minutes flip the wings over. Crack open a beer and enjoy it cold, while still keeping a close eye on your wings.
- Once the wings have good char color on both sides, move them to the indirect zone. Close the lid, and the wings will finish cooking here – as if they were in an oven. After this, crack open that second beer and relax.
- When the wings reach 160 degrees, grab the bowl of Fox Bros. Original Barbecue Sauce and your basting brush. Baste both sides of the wings liberally.
- Close the lid and let the wings cook for 5 more minutes. Drink more beer.
- After 5 minutes, you can either pull off the wings, or repeat the basting step for a saucier, stickier wing. Remove the wings from the grill.
- Allow 5-10 mins to cool, place the wings on a plate and enjoy!
Gas South is proud to support the Atlanta Braves as our hometown team. As the official natural gas provider for the Braves, our partnership has been a “home run” since 2008.
With the inaugural season at SunTrust Park in full swing, there’s great excitement surrounding the Braves. Recently, President and CEO, Kevin Greiner, discussed baseball, branding and relationship building at the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Business of Sports Summit.
Kevin talked about our successful partnership with the Braves and our “Bring the Heat” campaign. Through this campaign, Gas South donates $25 to a local nonprofit each time a Braves pitcher strikes out an opponent throughout the summer. Each time one of the Braves pitchers “brings the heat,” our community wins.
The designated beneficiary for April and May is the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. The United Way of Greater Atlanta will receive donations for June and July, and The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta is the recipient for August and September.
In addition to our “Bring the Heat” campaign, Braves fans can get involved in a more interactive way throughout the season. During select games during the season, fans can tweet their seat number using #GasSouthKissCam for a chance to make it on the jumbotron! Always wanted to get on the big screen? Well, here’s your chance!
Last season Bring the Heat raised more than $61,000 for local nonprofits, and we hope the team and pitchers are even more successful this season!
Read more about Gas South, the Braves and our involvement with Live! at the Battery in this Atlanta Business Chronicle article.
Go au natural this Earth Day with natural gas! As the most diversified fuel in the U.S., natural gas heats our homes, business, restaurants and schools just to name a few. It also powers vehicles, stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, lighting fixtures and other appliances. And, it can even generate electricity and run air conditioners.
Natural gas is the ultimate alternative fuel of the future—and it’s fueling a better earth. It’s abundant, efficient, affordable and cleaner burning compared to other fossil fuels. We’re taking a moment on Earth Day 2017 to reflect on the environmental benefits of natural gas because our Earth is worth it. To learn more, check out this infographic.
Is Natural Gas Better for the Environment than Other Fuels?
Here are five reasons why natural gas is a good choice for the planet.
- Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and a highly efficient form of energy.
- The simple chemical composition of natural gas lends itself to fewer impurities and generally results in less pollution.
- Using natural gas instead of oil or coal produces less chemicals that contribute to greenhouse gases, acid rain, smog, and other harmful forms of pollution.
- Natural gas promotes the use of other clean energy sources. It’s used as a raw material in lightweight cars, wind power blades, solar panels, and energy-efficient materials.
- Approximately 90 percent of natural gas produced is delivered to customers as useful energy. By comparison, only 30 percent of energy converted to electricity reaches consumers.
It’s the beginning of a new era in baseball history, and Gas South is excited to launch our 10th season as the Atlanta Braves’ official natural gas provider. To mark the team’s homecoming, we’re offering several opportunities for you to secure tickets and join us in cheering on the Braves at SunTrust Park.
Score Free Braves Tickets: As a new Gas South customer, you’re eligible to receive two FREE Terrace Corner tickets to a Braves home game when you enroll online at gassouth.com/braves. Or, simply call 1-855-GAS-SOUTH (427-7688) and mention promo code BRAVES.
Of course, our current customers can also get free tickets. Through our fabulous Pick Your Perk program, Gas South customers are eligible to receive two FREE Grandstand Infield tickets to a Braves home game. Pick one perk per year — and join us in cheering on our home team. For more information on our Braves perk and perks for other favorite Georgia attractions, visit www.gassouth.com/perks.
Braves Ticket Discounts: Coming soon, Gas South customers may save 20% on tickets to Monday through Thursday games throughout the season. Visit www.gassouth.com/offers for more information and choose from three seating options with this discount.
Braves VIP Experience: Starting April 25th, we’ll have a contest for two lucky winners to receive a Braves VIP Experience package, which includes four home game tickets and one parking pass, a private tour of SunTrust Park, batting practice viewing (from the field!) and a Braves goodie bag.
Gas South Kiss Cam: Pucker up, Braves fans! While you’re at the game, tweet your selfie and your seat number using #GasSouthKissCam for a chance to capture your loveable moment on the big screen! Chosen lovebirds will receive their keepsake video from the Braves within 48 hours. Be sure to share your video using #GasSouthKissCam!
Pitching Match-Ups: Gas South is excited to bring Braves fans pitching match-ups on digital outdoor boards this season as they travel to SunTrust Park. We’ll announce starting pitchers for home games to fans traveling along I-285 and I-75 all season long.
Bring the Heat: Gas South is proud to Bring the Heat again this year by donating $25 for every strikeout recorded by a Braves pitcher. More strikeouts mean more money raised for our charitable partners like the YMCA, the United Way and the Salvation Army. Last year, the Atlanta Braves and Gas South raised $61,350 for charity through the program. Since its inception, Bring the Heat has raised more than $311,000, with funds going to projects aimed at improving the communities where we live, work and play.
Today, it seems like every type of technology is going “smart” – from smartphones and smartwatches, to smart cars and smart thermostats. As smart thermostats such as The Nest grow in popularity, the reason why is no surprise: the energy-saving and cost-saving benefits are undeniable.
Want to know how smart thermostats can save you money? Here are five reasons why making the switch to a smart thermostat is the way to go.
- It can save you some cash. Only a few months after installation, a smart thermostat has the potential to save you a decent chunk of change. Three studies of Nest Learning Thermostat found that smart thermostat savings equal about 10 to 12 percent in heating costs and 15 percent in cooling costs in homes with central air conditioning. That can add up to more than $140 a year! You can put those extra savings into a sweet vaycay to the beach during those cold, winter months —and then save even more by setting your smart thermostat to vacation mode.
- It learns on its own. What’s beautiful about this innovative product is that if you really wanted to, you could go without ever having to actually touch it. The device is considered a learning thermostat, meaning it can sense even the smallest change in temperature and adjust accordingly. So whether your oven is pushing extra heat into the room or the outdoor temperature unexpectedly dropped 10 degrees, your home temperature will automatically stay right where you want it.
Additionally, some thermostats come with a built-in occupancy sensor. After a week or so of manual adjustments, the system will begin to recognize your presence and adjust on its own. A smart thermostat will correct your home to the right temperature before you even realize the change.
- You can control it on-the-go. Most smart thermostats come paired with iPhone and Android apps that give you the power to control your heating and cooling system anywhere you are. If you opt-out for the learning thermostat and want to keep it basic, you can manually adjust the temperature of your home with a few swipes on your phone. With the unpredictability of the outdoor weather (especially in Georgia), this feature allows you to quickly snap into action so you can at least have temperature predictability in your own home.
- You get instant alerts. Another perk of smart thermostats is the ability to immediately receive updates through text, email or direct notifications. For example: If a cold front comes through and your thermostat adjusts to accommodate the drop in temperature, you can opt in to be alerted of this change, along with an explanation. If you feel that the adjustment was unwarranted, you have the option of immediately reversing the change. The thermostat will then learn your preference and take it into consideration when making future automatic adjustments.
- See how you save. Some smart thermostats offer you a monthly report outlining your energy usage. The easy-to-read tracking system offers you insights for why certain days spiked or how you can save even more next month. You can learn how your spending compares to other users and even be rewarded for using energy-efficient settings.
Making the switch to a smart thermostat is a smart move. During the winter months, it’s the perfect tool to cut down on natural gas usage and save some cash – even throughout those hot, humid Georgia summers!
As the world’s population grows, it’s only natural that energy use would too. But resources for making energy are limited. It’s lucky there are those on the lookout for alternative energy sources, even if some methods seem a bit far out.
For fun, let’s take a gander at some of the weirder options scientists are checking in to:
Solar Wind: Scientists say there’s enough energy flowing in streams of particles from our sun to meet all of our energy needs for as long as the sun burns. To harvest it, we’d have to build a solar sail in space thousands of miles wide. A satellite, in true science fiction style, would then laser beam the energy down to Earth. So what’s the hold up? We don’t know how to make a laser beam that can handle the job. But we’re working on it.
Good Vibrations: A diligent search for energy alternatives means not overlooking the small stuff. And that’s why some researchers put a lot of effort into technology that can glean energy from such things as vibrations. Examples include floor tiles that make electricity from shuffling feet and cell phones that charge themselves on soundwaves. Scientists have even made fiber that makes electricity when it’s twisted and bent. Think what that means for yoga pants! These methods might not ever power a city, but every little bit makes a difference in becoming more sustainable.
Green Slime: Algae—you know, the green stuff that builds up in your pool—is a serious contender as a world energy source. Scientists are working with algae to develop cleaner and greener biofuels that could one day heat homes and power planes and cars. Algae is easy to produce, and it’s 100 percent natural. The oil it makes is relatively easy to turn into fuel, too.
At Gas South, we embrace innovation. We know it can change the world for the better and maybe put us in a place where our energy sources truly are boundless.
We’re taking it back to the basics! Your monthly natural gas bill from Gas South provides more information than you may realize.
Reading your bill shouldn't be a hassle, so we've created a tell-all guide to clear up any confusion and help you understand your Gas South bill.
- Account Details: This section provides your account details at a glance. It lists your bill date, plan expiration date and whether you’re signed up for a fixed rate, variable rate or OnePrice Plan™. If you’re enrolled in a fixed plan, your rate remains the same month after month while variable rate plans fluctuate, according to market conditions. With our OnePrice Plan, you pay the same flat, monthly rate for the length of your agreement.
- Monthly Summary: This table is a snapshot of what you owe this month. It includes your Gas South account number, any past due amounts you owe, current charges, your payment due date and the total amount that’s due
- Explanation of Charges: Here, we itemize the charges, fees and taxes associated with this month’s bill.
On Fixed or Variable Rate Plan Charges:
Additionally, If you’re not a OnePrice Plan customer, you’ll see a listing for gas charges, which indicates the total cost of gas used during the billing period. The customer service fee is Gas South’s cost of servicing your account, and the AGL Pass Through Charges are regulated charges on behalf of AGL. You’ll also see a graph on the right that shows your natural gas consumption history.
- Calculations/Bill Information: On each bill, Gas South provides more detailed information on your current charges. The grid encompasses readings from your meter. We then take the readings and calculate it by the thermal factor to obtain the amount of gas that is used in therms. A therm is simply a unit of heat, similar to the watts on your electric bill. Next, we multiply the therms by your current rate plan (e.g. $0.51 per therm) to determine this month’s charges.
Understanding your natural gas bill can save you a lot of grief – and using natural gas efficiently can save you money! If you ever have any questions regarding your bill, please contact us at 1-877-472-4932 to speak with a Gas South customer care representative.
In recognition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, MLK Day of Service events are held nationwide. On Monday, January 16, we once again spent the day on – not off – as more than 50 Gas South employees and their family members volunteered with A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab Boulevard location.
Volunteers spent the day with residents – decorating doors for Valentine's Day, helping residents create no sew blankets, downloading music and distributing iPods, assisting with BINGO and providing swag bags for more than 238 residents and staff of A. G. Rhodes. At the request of the staff, the MLK Day activities culminated with a sing-a-long. Aided by the center’s music therapist, employees and families reminisced and performed musical selections that the residents could identify with.
A.G. Rhodes is Atlanta’s and Marietta’s top nursing home provider of senior rehabilitation services and long-term care. As a not-for-profit organization, A.G. Rhodes provides the highest standard of care, which includes post-surgical recovery, therapeutic rehabilitation, and skilled nursing.
We’re thankful for the opportunity to share our time with A.G. Rhodes and support their mission. It’s our first of many volunteer days in 2017 and a meaningful touchpoint for our ongoing community outreach program, Gas South Cares. Here’s to moving us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."
In 2016, Gas South celebrated its 10th year of business, and it proved a pivotal one for the company.
We’re committed to cultivating a top workplace environment, providing exceptional customer service and supporting our local community. Here are 10 accomplishments from our 10th year that reaffirm our commitment to our culture, customers and the community:
- We earned a coveted spot on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s 2016 Top Workplaces for the first time. More than 2,500 companies and organizations applied and ultimately 165 were recognized, including Gas South. The rankings were based entirely on responses from an anonymous employee survey.
- We introduced a $15 minimum wage for all employees – more than double the federal rate and nearly triple Georgia’s minimum wage. The change resulted in pay increases for approximately 25 percent of the company’s workforce and most significantly impacted employees in Gas South’s customer care department.
- We celebrated our accomplishments with a 10-day event commemorating Gas South’s 10-year anniversary. The event series, “10 Days of Gas South,” included a daily theme to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and dedication. This campaign was recognized with a 2016 Phoenix Award from the Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
- We made major strides with our customer care transformation – moving from a transactional mindset to a focus on building amazing long-term customer relationships. This included an internal reorganization that moved all customer calls out of the sales organization and into the customer care organization to improve our commitment to providing the best customer service.
- We improved our customer communications to be more proactive, informative and actionable. Our locally-based customer care team continues to assist customers by phone as well as increasingly through social media channels.
- We continued to expand our increasingly popular Pick Your Perk program. We added new Pick Your Perk options, and we are increasingly communicating this program through multiple channels. We even expanded our great discounts for local attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain Park and the Atlanta Ballet with more promo codes and deals for our valued customers.
- We sponsored the fifth annual Charity Cornhole Challenge at SweetWater 420 Fest, awarding the $10,000 grand prize to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the Southeast, as the tournament winner.
- We partnered with Cobb EMC to provide a Home Energy Efficiency Makeover worth approximately $20k. The makeover winners, Wes and Shannon Pilgrim, received new energy-efficient appliances, a bill credit from Cobb EMC, two years of free natural gas service from Gas South, and a new HVAC unit, water heater, insulation and duct work from Cobb Heating and Air Association members.
- For the sixth year, Gas South’s Bring the Heat campaign raised money for local nonprofits. This year, Braves pitchers threw a total of 1,227 strikeouts, resulting in $61,350 raised for The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta.
- We participated in Hands On Atlanta Day where 50 Gas South employees volunteered a total of 200 hours at Camp Timber Ridge in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. We helped spruce up the campground – chopping wood, clearing roadways, putting up new tents and painting pavilions.
As we reflect on our accomplishments in 2016, we’re excited for our 11th year and everything that is to come in 2017!
Natural gas has been shaping humanity for a long time. In the early days of recorded history, ancient Persians were inspired to worship fires sparked by lightning in natural gas seeps in Iran.
In Greece, the flames of the “unquenchable fire” in Delphi are credited to a natural gas fault just below the famous temple. It was there that the Delphic Oracle spoke of her visions, which helped believers determine when to plant crops or go to war. New theories suggest the Oracle’s insight may have been due to breathing in the natural gas fumes.
Centuries later, the Chinese had figured out a crude way to pipe natural gas through bamboo. The gas was stored in barrels and used as fuel to boil seawater. This helped them extract the salt, which became an important trade item.
In the late 1700s, Britain became the first country to commercialize natural gas, though this resource didn’t come from underground. Britain made its gas artificially from coal. It was used to light houses and streetlights.
America, too, was beginning to discover the good of natural gas at about this time. In 1816, Baltimore, Maryland, became the first U.S. city to light its streets this way with gas imported from Britain.
A few years later, William Hart became the first to harvest natural gas in the U.S. when he dug a shallow well in Fredonia, New York. Hart’s efforts inspired the creation of the Fredonia Gas Light Company. Founded in 1858, it was the first natural gas company in America.
In 1885, Robert Bunsen created a burner that mixed air with natural gas. The device, a Bunsen burner, allowed gas to be used to heat homes, cook and run other appliances. It was also adapted to industrial settings. As gas line infrastructure was put into place, natural gas became more and more common in the U.S. as a source of energy. And its popularity continues to grow.
Today, natural gas generates 33 percent of the electricity in the U.S. And that number is expected to rise as coal is gradually phased out as a source of energy. Natural gas is relatively inexpensive and clean burning. Combined with renewables like solar and wind power, natural gas becomes a big part of creating a sustainable future.
Cooler weather means football, friends, family – and food. This fall and winter, channel your inner chef by using natural gas to prepare your holiday feasts. From ovens and ranges to grills, here are five reasons why you should cook with natural gas.
Less Time in the Kitchen
Imagine it’s the third down in the fourth quarter, and your favorite team is just a few points away from taking the lead – but where are you? Hopefully, not in the kitchen! Thankfully, ranges and ovens powered with natural gas heat up instantly, while electric stoves do not. The roast will be out of the oven in plenty of time for you to catch the winning touchdown.
More Precision and Control
Natural gas offers more precision and control, which even amateur chefs can appreciate. Plus, when cooking with natural gas, you can keep your food on the range with the flame off without the worry of overcooking. It’s an easy way to keep your signature dish warm as you and your family go back for seconds.
Keeps on Cooking
What if the power goes out? Keep calm and cook on! There’s no need to order a pizza. If you have a natural gas powered oven, the food keeps on cooking. Your loved ones will still get to enjoy your larger-than-life turkey roasting in the oven. You don’t get that with an electric oven!
Typically, a charcoal grill requires multiple steps – like lugging a bag of charcoal to the grill, lighting the charcoal, waiting for the flames to settle – and the list goes on. But this isn’t the case with a natural gas grill. You can heat up the grill with a simple flip of a switch.
More Money in Your Pocket
Who doesn’t want to save some extra money during the holidays? If you’re looking to purchase a new oven, consider purchasing one powered by natural gas. Natural gas ovens are typically less expensive than electric ones as an upfront purchase, and using natural gas will also save you money in the long run.
Want to know more about the benefits of cooking with natural gas from a professional chef? Check out this CBS46 Atlanta Plugged In segment with Gas South customer and head chef Andre Gomez of Porch Light Latin Kitchen in Smyrna as he shows us how to fire things up in the kitchen with natural gas!
Nearly a century ago, Veteran’s Day was established to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served our country. As Veteran’s Day celebrations take place across metro Atlanta, we took the opportunity to speak with two employees – Ida Susan Graham and Judge Montgomery – about their service and what Gas South is doing for veterans.
How is Gas South committed to honoring our veterans?
Judge Montgomery: We offer special deals and discounts for those who served and still serve our country. As a special “thank you” to the men and women in our armed forces, Gas South provides a 2-cent per therm discount on both variable and fixed rate plans for veterans and active military personnel. And we won’t charge you a deposit to setup your service.
Ida Susan Graham: We encourage vets and active duty personnel to take advantage of the discount, particularly with colder weather around the corner. Especially since it has been predicted that there will be an increase in natural gas bills due to colder weather headed our way this winter.
Other than the everyday deals and discounts, how else does Gas South pay it forward to veterans?
Judge: Gas South is committed to making a difference in the community year-round. This year Gas South gifted a Marine and his wife an energy efficient makeover in partnership with Cobb EMC and the Cobb Heating and Air Association. The total value was an impressive $20 thousand, and they received two years of free natural gas from Gas South!
Ida Susan: Wes and Shannon Pilgrim of Marietta, Georgia, were nominated by their neighbors. Wes is known in his neighborhood as the type who would do anything to help – and it was great to be able to help him in return.
As a Gas South employee, what is the company doing to salute veterans?
Ida Susan: I feel blessed to work for a company that truly takes care of their employees. This year Gas South veteran employees have been given Veterans Day off, so we can spend time with our families. It’s a great way for Gas South to take that extra step to show they care.
Judge: Kevin Greiner, president and CEO, also personally thanked each one of us and presented us with a gift to show his appreciation of our service.
As veterans, how was the transition to Gas South?
Judge: The military gave me a higher sense of discipline and accountability. After serving nine years in the military, I’ve learned to adapt to my surroundings – and I’ve learned to apply the same discipline and accountability to my position at Gas South.
Ida Susan: I served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army and USAR. My military time has been my life, and without it, my life would have not blossomed into my three flowers – my children. I served in many places and learned so much. It’s truly helped me to be the leader I am today.
Gas South and Cobb EMC sponsored the seventh annual Literacy Week, beginning October 24th. The week-long celebration brought the stories printed in children’s favorite books to life. During Literacy Week, 13 children’s book authors read to 24,483 students in 43 schools across metro Atlanta.
Local author Chris Rumble read his book Adventures of Uncle Stinky, a series of highly-illustrated stories about an unlikely superhero, to Gas South’s partner school Norton Park Elementary. Celebrated children’s book author and poet, Robyn Hood Black, read to our other partner school Heritage Academy. Even the Braves’ mascot, Homer, showed up to celebrate Literacy Week!
In 2014, 14 percent of the population was illiterate according to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy. Gas South is proud to partner with Cobb EMC to support local schools and to help foster a love for reading in children.
Halloween is here, the weather is getting chilly, and things are about to get a little spooky. But, have no fear – we have a few tips (no tricks!) up our sleeves to help you avoid five natural gas “nightmares!”
Unexpectedly high bills can be frightening – especially when you’re not used to having your heat turned on for the past few months – but there are ways you can save on your home energy costs.
One thing you can do is invest in a programmable thermostat. During the winter months, we recommend setting your thermostat to 60 degrees when you’re away and 68 degrees when you’re home. You can save about 5 percent on heating costs for every degree lowered in the winter months. And of course, you can do this manually if you don’t have a smart thermostat.
Remember to change the filter in your furnace or air handler regularly. A dirty air filter can cause a lot of hocus pocus – forcing your system to work harder to push air throughout your home.
This results in increased energy usage, which also means a higher bill. Not to mention the added creepy crawlies like dust and allergens that can’t be properly filtered out. To avoid this potential nightmare, most HVAC companies recommend inspecting, cleaning or replacing the filter every month during the summer and winter seasons.
Don’t let carbon monoxide creep up on you. There are easy ways to maintain your household, so you can breathe easy. Think of carbon monoxide as a ghost – you can’t see it even if it’s there. It’s a tasteless, odorless substance produced from the combustion of carbon-based substances. It can be emitted from fireplaces, faulty furnaces, generators, water heaters and other heat sources. If inhaled, carbon monoxide can be very dangerous.
Everyone should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home that will alert you when carbon monoxide levels are elevated. It’s also a good rule of thumb to never use grills, generators or camping stoves inside the home, and never leave a car running in the garage without opening the garage door. Car exhaust is one of the substances most commonly associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. Lastly, never ever try to heat your home using your stove.
A natural gas leak is the scariest of all nightmares, but there are simple ways to identify a potential leak. Because natural gas is a colorless, odorless fuel, we add a chemical odorant called mercaptan that gives natural gas the smell that’s often associated with rotten eggs. This distinctive scent allows you to detect a potential leak if it occurs. So keep a nose out for that!
When you’re inside your home, you can also listen for an eerie blowing or hissing sound. A sign of a leak outdoors may be indicated by dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area as well as dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground, or bubbling in wet or flooded areas.
If you detect a natural gas leak, remain calm and leave your home immediately. There’s no secret potion to fix a gas leak, but you can call Atlanta Gas Light at 877.427.4321 and emergency responders at 911 once you are in a safe place – away from the area of the suspected leak. Stay put until emergency personnel say it’s safe to return.
Besides asking ‘Trick-or-Treat?’ you should ask – “Have I turned on my natural gas yet?” For seasonal natural gas customers, it’s important to sign up early so you have heat as soon as temperatures begin to drop. A lot of folks wait until it gets cold to schedule their service, but sooner is always better since it takes a few days to schedule Atlanta Gas Light to come to your house, make sure the gas line is safe and turn on your gas.
We spoke to Brenda Turner, residential channel coordinator, to learn more about Hands on Atlanta Day and what it means to her to volunteer in the communities where we live, work and play.
By: Brenda Turner
One of my favorite things about being a Gas South employee is the company’s dedication to giving back to the community. We participate in many local service programs year-round, and most recently, I had the opportunity to lead Hands On Day Atlanta Day 2016 – the largest and most prestigious corporate volunteer day of service in Atlanta.
Approximately 50 Gas South employees volunteered a total of 200 hours at Camp Timber Ridge in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. We helped spruce up the campground – chopping wood, clearing roadways, putting up new tents and painting pavilions.
Though it may be what they’re best known for, the Girl Scouts do a lot more than sell delicious cookies – just like Gas South does more than market natural gas! But don’t take my word for it. Check out this short video about our experience volunteering with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta for Hands on Atlanta Day.
At a recent Cobb Chamber event, I shared my perspectives as a local business leader on how Cobb County is attracting and cultivating the next generation of leaders. The county has a legacy of leadership, and it’s one we hope to continue through the recent influx of millennials and the overall boom in economic activity.
From 2010 to 2015, the millennial population in the Cumberland area alone has increased by about 32 percent, making this the fastest growing millennial population in metro Atlanta. Cobb County has also been ranked one of the top millennial suburbs based on the number of millennial residents, job opportunities, and access to housing, restaurants and other nearby entertainment venues.
Drawing from these data points and my personal experience, here’s why Cobb County is a great place for millennials to work, live and play.
Work: Business is booming, and opportunities are endless for the millennial workforce. According to the Cobb Chamber’s 2016 Economic Development Guide, the county created and retained nearly 5,225 jobs with an estimated $313 million in new investments in 2015. Comcast, The Home Depot, RaceTrac, The Weather Channel and now the Atlanta Braves all call Cobb home, and so does Gas South. In 2006, we selected Cobb’s Cumberland area for our headquarters, and we continue to grow where we’re planted. In 2014, we extended our lease through 2025 and doubled our office space to accommodate our growth as we insourced our customer care team. Within the walls of our organization, 40 percent of our workforce falls in the millennial cohort.
Live: With a cost of living below the national average, there’s no shortage of affordable housing options in Cobb. With its recreational amenities, rich arts community, top-notch educational institutions and transportation options, the Cobb County lifestyle is luring millennials, including many of our team members. Since 2013, 6,800 new residential units are either under construction or awaiting zoning approval. Many of these new projects involve mixed-use developments, such as The Battery Atlanta and Jamestown’s Riverview Landing, which make it easier than ever for millennial residents to have it all in a close proximity to where they live and work.
Play: For millennials that work hard and play hard, Cobb boasts more than 100 parks, the Cobb Energy Centre and plenty of local spots to meet up with friends. Not to mention, SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta, which are arguably the most notable projects in Cobb’s history. The new developments are already attracting quality investment. Improvements are underway to address traffic concerns and increase walkability, in addition to the benefits of increasing the tax base and creating new jobs. From The Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre and King’s Bowling alley, to chef-driven restaurant concepts by Ford Fry and Linton Hopkins, it’s not news breaking to say that this will be a go-to destination.
Gas South is fortunate to have made Cobb County our home for our first 10 years business, and we are even more bullish as we enter our second decade as a corporate citizen.
There are certain moments as a business leader when you can pause and feel really proud about the work your company is doing. For me, yesterday was one of those days as we announced Gas South’s commitment to providing a living wage for all employees.
Beginning September 1, all hourly Gas South employees will earn a minimum wage of $15 per hour, which is more than double the federal rate. The Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported on the story, and the positive news has echoed throughout the local media landscape. We appreciate the support and how this announcement has spread through our community.
The decision to increase the minimum wage for hourly employees at Gas South was a simple one. It’s our goal to always provide an exceptional customer experience. To do that, we must be a top place to work with a motivating environment for our employees.
Our leadership team understands that exceptional service is made possible only by the hard work and commitment of our employees – the people who live out our commitment to customer service with the utmost efficiency and integrity. They deserve fair, competitive compensation for their work, and excellent pay along with benefits like health care, paid time off, and retirement contributions are all part of what makes Gas South a great place to work.
To sum, our wage increase boils down neatly to this:
- Approximately 25 percent of the company’s overall workforce will see an increase in pay, specifically employees working in our customer care department.
- The average wage increase among those affected is four percent with a maximum increase of 8.3 percent.
I’d also like to note to customers that this change will benefit them as well. Our rates will be just as competitive as they have always been, and we’ll continue to provide unparalleled value to our customers. In fact, we believe that even as we raise our hourly pay, our costs of doing business will go down. That’s because a $15 minimum wage will allow us to attract and retain the very best customer care employees, providing them with greater financial security and ultimately enhancing productivity. Therefore, we see a $15 minimum wage for our team members as a win for the company, our employees and our customers.
At the end of the day, each business has to make decisions based on what is right and what is possible within its own scope. Our decision to commit to a $15 minimum wage for our employees is not a political statement; it’s a Gas South statement. At Gas South, ensuring that each member of our team earns a living wage is a priority and it’s something that makes good business sense for our company.
It Pays to Schedule Your Reconnection Date Early!
These days, you’re probably wearing shades and shorts, lathered in sunscreen, grilling out, and trying to stay cool during Georgia’s unforgiving summer heat. So, let’s assume that you haven’t been thinking about your natural gas service much lately. That’s understandable – you’re focused on today’s realities.
But, with football and the next season of the Walking Dead around the corner, aren’t you thinking ahead to the fall anyway? Then let’s get you thinking about natural gas again because we want to save you time, money and potential hassle.
So here are a couple of tips to ensuring a stress-free, money-smart way to reconnect with your old flame (meaning Gas South, of course):
1. Schedule your reconnection date at your earliest convenience. You’ve heard the one about the early bird and the worm. And the same applies to your natural gas service. A lot of customers wait until it gets cold to schedule their service, by which time you may find yourself duking it out with others for a reconnection date that works for you. Worse, you could also miss out on saving instant money! That’s because Gas South is waiving the $105 reconnection fee for all customers who schedule their reconnection date by September 15th. So do the smart thing: contact us now, save the money, and feel good knowing that your home will be nice and cozy come October.
2. Choose a fixed rate plan. If you know us, then you know we’ll almost always tell you to select a fixed rate over a variable rate, unless you’re moving soon. Fixed rates stay the same, are better value, and ours are some of the most competitive available.
3. Do whatever you like -- hike Stone Mountain, go to the opera, catch a Braves game. Your to-do list got a little lighter, and we’d be happy to treat you to free tickets for some great Atlanta-area entertainment through our Pick Your Perk program – another cool thing about being a Gas South customer.
So don’t wait another day to schedule your reconnection date. Call or visit before September 15th. That way, when it gets cold, you won’t have to think about your natural gas.
Call: 1-888-290-4727 and mention SEASONAL.
The Gas South Guide
Getting utilities up and running can be a hassle. We get it — we’ve been there! There’s research to be done, calls to be made and sometimes, a lot of time sitting on hold.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. At Gas South, we’re here to make it easier.
Whether you’ve just moved or you simply need to turn your service back on, you’re going to need natural gas service at some point. Fortunately, the process of getting your gas turned on can be a cinch! Just use this simple, four-step guide and you’ll be ready to go in no time.
Check for service availability in your area
Not every natural gas provider serves all areas of the state, so it’s important to check for service availability before you are set on one provider. Most providers post this information directly on their website. You can learn more about natural gas rate plans available to you if you're moving to Georgia.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re signing with Gas South, you could qualify for an additional discount if your home or apartment falls within a territory covered by our county, city and EMC programs.
Do your research on natural gas providers
Georgia is unique in that it’s a deregulated gas industry. This means that you can choose a provider for your natural gas, instead of having only one option and I being chosen for you.
The good news is that there are a lot of options out there to choose from, and Gas South stands out among the providers…if we do say so ourselves.
We won’t go on and on about our own services — you can learn all about those on our rates and plans page. But we will tell you that whichever provider you choose, they shouldn’t charge you a deposit to establish service. With Gas South, this can save you up to $150. Pretty cool, huh?
Determine how long you need your natural gas service turned on at your residence
Once you’ve found a provider you like, you’ll want to think about how long you need service. When you think about utilities, you may not be thinking about the timeframe during which you’ll be using them, but this can have a big impact on the type of rate plan you choose, and the price you pay!
By nailing down a specific timeline, you’ll know which type of rate plan to choose right off the bat – variable or fixed (keep in mind not all providers feature both).
If you’re going to be a resident for longer than six months, a fixed rate can save you money because currently, fixed rates are lower than variable rates. Variable rates fluctuate with the natural gas markets, while fixed rates stay the same throughout your entire service period. Fixed rates can offer significant savings over a long period of time, especially during the high consumption months of winter.
Pick a turn-on date that fits your schedule
Once you have your provider picked out, it’s time to schedule your natural gas turn on date and time. If your natural gas is completely turned off, a technician needs to come to your house to turn it on. If the gas is already on, all the tech needs to do is check the meter and make sure everything is up and running correctly, and safely.
With Gas South, you can schedule your turn on date 90 days in advance, which means you can lock in a great rate today, all while having ample time to prepare for winter weather. All you have to do is schedule your turn on date and leave the rest to us!
There you have it! Now that you have the steps down, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Gas South Customer Care Representative if you have any additional questions, or if you want more information on our rates and plans!
As an HR professional in the natural gas industry, drawing the connection between a career pipeline and a gas pipeline was an ‘aha’ moment – and a teachable lesson that really resonated with me. Here’s an excerpt from my recent presentation at the Women's Energy Network, Greater Atlanta Chapter meeting on four professional development lessons from a natural gas pipeline.
- Maintenance: Over time, gas pipelines require regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure they continue to safely and properly deliver natural gas to homes and businesses. Most industries are ever-changing, which requires you to continually fine-tune your skills and hone your craft to stay on top of your game. Every day is an opportunity to continue learning and finding ways to add more value.
- Growth: Maintenance alone isn’t enough – gas pipelines need to be primed for long-term sustainability so they continue to serve the growing needs. Similarly, your career needs to be targeted for growth opportunities. As you move up the corporate ladder from refining skills to refining behaviors, you’ll polish more nuanced competencies such as interpersonal skills, organization habits and critical thinking.
- Supply and Demand: As supply and demand have leveled out recently, so has the pricing of natural gas. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for today’s job market – especially in the metro Atlanta area where the supply of job candidates far outweighs the demand for available positions. If you find yourself hitting a road block in your career path, take a risk and find a new area where the demand is high but the supply is low. I’ve done this with my career, and it’s taken me in new, exciting directions from lobbying to PR.
- High Quality Service: Natural gas is a commodity, which makes it a very competitive environment for the 13 natural gas marketers in Georgia. At Gas South, we differentiate ourselves by providing an exceptional customer experience and always going above and beyond for our customers. Consistently producing a top quality work product and lightening the load for others around you will help you standout in your career and get a leg up on the competition.
During the summer, many children go without a nutritious lunch that’s normally provided at school. Can you imagine? Feeling the excitement of summer, but not knowing if you’re going to eat that day? Or, if you’re a parent, you may have to leave your kids at home to go to work and you don’t know if they will eat that day. It’s something that no child or parent should have to worry about.
On July 20th, employees took a break from their normal routine to pack 1,215 lunches for Atlanta students who receive free or reduced lunch during the school year. The Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program is powered by Action Ministries and it ensures that these children are fed during the summer and school breaks. Unlike other similar programs, the organization delivers the lunches to the children in their neighborhoods which removes the possible issue of lack of access to transportation.
For the past five years, Gas South has packed lunches for this standout program and it’s always a great time!
The lunches were delivered to children who live in apartments in the Cascade Corridor, as well as apartments near Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The lunches included a PB&J sandwich, chips, water, fruit snacks and fruit cups.
It's mid-summer and everyone is working hard to get in shape and make healthy decisions to look and feel their best! Gas South’s Wellness Committee works year-round to provide employees with educational tools and resources so they are able to become the best version of themselves. For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we spoke with Harli Gawronski, human resources coordinator, to learn more about the committee, their initiatives and why it’s important to provide employees with tools to succeed. Harli leads the Wellness Committee which is a team of six employees from different departments at Gas South.
When did the Wellness Committee start?
The committee started about three years ago in order to provide Gas South employees with more awareness about healthy lifestyle choices.
Why was the Wellness Committee created?
It was originally created to help employees get up and move, considering the majority of our employee sit at a desk all day. Since the start three years ago, we now have more concrete goals, leadership buy-in, employee engagement, participation and focus. We are currently working through a three-year implementation plan that aims to encourage employees to take more responsibility in managing their health and wellness. In 2015, we raised awareness about being healthy and the costs when employees make poor lifestyle choices. In 2016, we are requiring employees to take responsibility for themselves – employees will pay less for coverage by knowing their health numbers, and engaging in activities to get their numbers in the healthy range. In 2017, employees will receive financial rewards towards their medical coverage premiums tied to the results of the biometric screening, rather than just participating in the screening.
What are the focus areas and goals of the committee this year?
Since we want employees to take the initiative to be responsible for their healthy or unhealthy lifestyle decisions, we are focusing on nutrition in order to address, and then impact, the risk categories from our biometric screens – which take into consideration BMI and waist circumference.
What are the specific initiatives that will be implemented to reach those goals?
Every other month, we bring a local vegetable farmer into the office to encourage employees to investigate healthy eating options. We also provide employees with a voucher so they do not need to spend any of their own money to make a purchase, unless they choose to purchase additional produce. We also continue to have fruit delivered every other month to create a culture of healthy eating.
Another initiative, the Wellness in Action Run/Walk Program, promotes movement and physical activity. We’re encouraging Gas South employees to walk or run in local road races throughout the year. Gas South sponsors a walk/run each month for up to ten Gas South employees and we have already had a few successful walks/runs to date!
Gas South also recently gave all employees portion plates to correspond with our initiative to improve and educate employees about nutrition’s role in a healthy lifestyle. The plate stresses healthy portion sizes and is split up into three sections – fruits and vegetables, grains, and proteins.
Do you have any employee challenges planned?
We are implementing a nutrition challenge in July and a weight loss challenge at the beginning of the year.
Why does wellness play such an important role at corporations?
Wellness can impact so many different areas of a corporation from retention to engagement to work/life balance. Wellness is also a major driver or healthcare costs.
Why is it important to you, personally, to be involved with the Wellness Committee?
To me, wellness is a lifestyle and I feel very passionate about it. Wellness is not only physical, but also mental and spiritual. It’s a holistic experience that bleeds into every part of one’s life. Secondly, being part of the Wellness Committee enables me to impact other people’s lives and for that, I’m very grateful.
Wellness committee members include:
Tonya Long (Millennium Benefits)
Thirteen metro Atlanta nonprofits participated in our fifth annual Charity Cornhole Challenge at SweetWater 420 Fest on Saturday, April 23 at Centennial Olympic Park. The Atlanta Community Food Bank won in the championship showdown against Georgia Jack Russell Rescue, Adoption & Sanctuary.
Gas South awarded the $10,000 prize to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the Southeast. Each year, the nonprofit connects more than 750,000 people with over 60 million pounds of food – equating to more than 50 million meals. The $10,000 will provide 40,000 meals to families in metro Atlanta and north Georgia.
In addition to the $10,000 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Gas South also donated $4,000 to Georgia Jack Russell Rescue for second place and $2,000 to both United Way and The Giving Kitchen for third and fourth place. The money for the donation was raised at our Charity Shindig event that was held at SweetWater Brewery last month, as well as proceeds raised during 420 Fest through T-shirt and hat donations.
“The Charity Cornhole Challenge is one of my favorite events because it’s a fun way to rally the community together for a good cause,” said Chris Coan, Gas South vice president and general manager of business and government markets. “Gas South is an environmentally conscious company, and we’re committed to making a local impact. Because of that, we look for opportunities to align our brand with like-minded organizations, which is why we continue to partner with SweetWater year over year.”
Through our annual cornhole sponsorship, Gas South has raised more than $55,000 for local nonprofits.
"We are so grateful to be the recipients of the Cornhole Challenge," said Kyle Waide, president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. "The generous contribution will help us feed our neighbors in need. Each year, we are able to distribute enough food to provide more than 50 million meals for the hungry. We couldn't do it without strong support from our community, including our partners at Gas South. We are already practicing to defend our title next year!"
Thank you to everyone that helped support the tournament – we had a great turnout! We’re already looking forward to next year’s competition!
Have You Ever Wondered What The Different Charges On Your Natural Gas Bill Are For, And Why You Have Them? We’re Here To Explain.
This is the cost of the natural gas you and your family used during the billing period.
AGLC Base Charges:
These charges are assessed by the Atlanta Gas Light Company for the costs of delivering the natural gas to your home, reading your meter and responding to emergencies. They are approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission and passed through to you without any markup from us.
These charges aren’t totally based on your usage, so they may be higher in some months and lower than others.
Customer Service Fee:
This is an administrative fee for maintaining your account, plus the hard work that all of our departments and employees put in each day to make this experience the best that they can for you!
We know you know what these are, but to finish off our explanation, we pass along any taxes that apply in your area.
There Are Two More Possible (But Avoidable) Fees That You May See On Your Bill.
If your balance isn’t paid by the due date, a $10 late fee (or 1.5% of the unpaid balance, whichever is greater) will be applied to your account.
Returned Payment Fee:
A $30 fee will be charged to your account for all returned payments.
We all encounter financial challenges from time to time, so remember we offer payment arrangements and can put you in touch with energy assistance programs if you ever need assistance paying your bill.
For more information on how to read your bill, check out our handy-dandy guide.
Last month, Gas South was named one of Atlanta’s best places to work by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). The award was a deserving recognition of our unique culture that values the contributions of all employees. According to the survey, Gas South’s practices of encouraging new ideas and open communication of company decisions received the highest survey scores − earning more than 20 percent above the telecommunication and utility industry category average.
Gas South was the only natural gas provider to make the AJC’s list and one of only two utility companies to receive the recognition ‒ the other being Carroll EMC. So, what makes us different from the rest?
The answer has to do with instilling a clear vision of the company’s values and the role employees play in harnessing its development and growth. Kevin Greiner, president and CEO, refers to this as Vision 2020. Employees described Vision 2020 in the survey responses as a reason the company is a top workplace, with one employee saying, “knowing leadership can get everyone on board to move in the right direction motivates me to want to be part of making it happen.”
The AJC and Workplace Dynamics nominated or asked more than 2,500 companies to participate in the contest. Workplace Dynamics, which conducted the survey on behalf of the AJC, then surveyed employees from 275 metro Atlanta companies. Almost 60,000 total workers participated in the survey and in order to be considered, each company was required to have a response rate of at least 35 percent. The survey asked numerous questions about employees’ workplaces including the company has strong values and ethics, new ideas are encouraged, we do things efficiently and well, I feel appreciated, etc. Here are a few of examples of how Gas South employees responded:
“The company has increased my personal growth.”
“I've been given the opportunity to grow and express my opinions.”
“We are one big family and everyone works together!”
“Management is very involved with the company and employees.”
“I admire the strong presence that Gas South has in the community.”
The award is a fitting recognition for the company, especially for employees, as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary! We have quickly gone from a small company of 50 employees, to a market leader with more than 200 employees.
Gas South continues to work toward the company-wide vision of being the #1 natural gas provider in the Southeast, offering the #1 customer experience and being the #1 place to work. With this award, we’re inspired to work harder and make the best even better!
To read more about AJC’s Top Workplaces and to see the entire list, click here.
Please read this post carefully, because you will be quizzed on it later. No, not really.
But if the question, “Just what is natural gas?” has ever crossed your mind, we need to go back millyuns and millyuns of years, as the great scientist Dr. Carl Sagan used to say.
Long ago, when plant and animal life died, it got compressed underground with incredible force and was subjected to the earth’s heat for a great duration. The materials were trapped between layers of shale, a soft rock, and this sort of earthly “digestion” gave off natural gas as a byproduct.
Natural gas is first and foremost a hydrocarbon, meaning it is made up of compounds of hydrogen and carbon. The biggest ingredient in natural gas is methane, a compound of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. There are other things in natural gas, too. Hydrocarbons ethane, propane and butane are all found in it, and all are highly flammable.
Natural gas is commonly used because it’s a clean-burning energy source. It releases virtually no sulfur dioxide, less soot and less carbon dioxide. Of all fossil fuels, natural gas emits the least pollution, according to the Natural Gas Supply Association.
Interestingly, natural gas has no color and no odor. “So why does a gas leak smell like that?” you may wonder. That’s because when the gas reaches a local utility, it is injected with mercaptan, an odorant. This is done for everyone’s safety. It’s very important to find the source of a gas leak and shut it off as soon as possible. So if you smell something, say something. Call your local utility right away.
So, now you know. And the more you know . . . (If we could, we’d make a shooting star go by at this point.)
On January 4th, we began the 10 Days of Gas South – celebrating the company’s 10 year anniversary! Each day had a theme where employees could share pictures on their personal Twitter accounts using the hashtag #10YearsofGasSouth. Employees who participated in the activities were entered into prize drawings and winners were randomly selected throughout the 10 days. Check out the list below to find out how employees took part in the 10 Days of Gas South!
Day Two: Good Deed Day
Employees did good deeds for coworkers today!
Day Three: Health and Wellness Day
Employees showed us how they stay healthy and enjoyed chair massages at the office.
Day Four: #TBT Day Employees wore their favorite 2006 fashion trends!
Day Five: Employees shared pictures in their new 10th anniversary polos!
Day Six: Gas South 10th Anniversary Party
Day Seven: Family and Friends Day – Employees shared pictures of what they do in their free time.
Day Nine: Lunch Buddy Day – Employees enjoyed a catered lunch to keep the celebration rolling!
Day Ten: “10 Things we Love about Gas South” Day
Perhaps you don’t heat your home with natural gas. You use another energy source, and you wonder, “Why should I switch?” A fair question, and we’ll answer it three times.
First, we’ll compare natural gas to heating oil. You may experience problems with oil, including: frequent oil deliveries, unpredictable oil prices, the high cost of maintaining old oil heating equipment, sooty walls, carpeting, furniture and draperies requiring constant cleaning, and a leaky oil tank and the high cost of clean-up.
Natural gas heating offers advantages including: cleaner burning than oil, reliable supply, stable rates through government regulation, higher efficiency, and it’s simple and affordable to switch to natural gas.
Now we’ll offer reasons to choose natural gas instead of electric. A gas furnace delivers air as much as 25 degrees warmer than an electric heat pump, a gas furnace lasts twice as long, 90 percent of natural gas is useful energy in your home compared to 33 percent or less for electric, and a gas water heater reduces carbon dioxide emissions (equivalent to recycling 1.7 tons of waste).
What about natural gas compared to propane? Since propane prices are not regulated, they can rise quickly when supplies get tight in winter. Heating with propane also requires you to have a storage tank on your property, and you have to pay your supplier every time it’s filled. With natural gas, you don’t need a storage tank; we send it to your home through underground pipes, as you need it. And you pay for natural gas only after you use it.
If you’re interested in making the switch to natural gas, you can get more information from contractors in your area.
On November 11, 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the first commemoration of Armistice Day, also known as Veterans Day, to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. According to History.com, there are approximately 23.2 million military veterans in the United States, 7.8 million of those veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), including Gas South’s own Sandra Hamilton, which represents 33% of all living veterans.
To honor the veterans who work at Gas South, we spoke with four employees about their service and what Veterans Day means to them. Don’t miss the opportunity to thank a veteran in your life for the sacrifices they have made for our safety.
Juawana Glass, Navy
Location of service: Mayport, Fla.; Diego Garcis, Chagos Island; Agana, Guam; Atlanta, Ga.
Length of service: 8 years
Wars: Global War on Terrorism
Job/Assignment: Religious Program Specialist (RP), also known as a Chaplain’s assistant
Medals/Citations: Junior Sailor of the Quarter, runner up for Junior Sailor of the Year, President of the Junior Sailor Association, Navy Good Conduct Service Medal (2), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (for serving during a war time), Overseas Deployment Service Medal (for serving overseas), Humanitarian Service Medal (for continued volunteer work), 9MM Pistol and Sharpshooter Ribbon, 14MM Rifle Sharpshooter, Letter of Commendations (5)
- What does it mean to you to be a veteran? It means sacrifice! Sacrifice of your family for the dedication to your Country. I am proud to have served the time that I did – I often contemplate returning to duty. The comradery that you get in the military is irreplaceable!
LaTitia “Tish” Winbush, Army
- Rank: Specialist, E-4
- Location of service: Charlotte, N.C.
- Length of service: 6 years
- Job/Assignment: Unit Supply Specialist
- What does it mean to you to be a veteran? A veteran to me means that you have separated yourself from the rest of your peers and have done something the normal person wouldn't do for their country. It means that you are willing to give up your life for someone else's and be proud of who you have and will become.
Sandra Hamilton, Air Force
- Rank: Airman 1st Class
- Location of service: San Antonio, Texas (Kelly and Lackland Air Force Bases); Fort Collins, Colo.
- Length of service: 2.4 years
- Wars: End of Vietnam
- Job/Assignment: Intelligence Operations Specialist
- What does it mean to you to be a veteran? Pride and honor to be able to serve our country and protect our freedom.
Stephon White, Army
Rank: Specialist (SPC)
Location of service: Fort Polk, La.
Length of service: 4 years
Wars: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Job/Assignment: Administrative Specialist
Medals/Citations: National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal
- What does it mean to you to be a veteran? Simply put, it means I had the opportunity to serve and protect the greatest country on earth.
Tiara Allen, Army
Rhonda Garrett, Army
Sandra Clark, Army
Gas South will also be attending the Cobb Chamber 63rd ARMAC Military Appreciation Luncheon on November 16th. The event honors men and women in uniform, and attendees will hear from Congressman Mac Thornberry, Chairman of the House of Armed Services Committee.
Gas South offers a 2-cent per therm discount on Variable and Fixed Rate plans to military veterans and active military personnel. No deposit is required to establish service. View more information on our natural gas rates and plans page.
Thank you to veterans across the U.S. for their sacrifice and service!
On Thursday, July 30th, Gas South, GAIN® Clean Fuel and Core-Mark opened Cobb County’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) station, located in Smyrna, Georgia. This new addition to the Smyrna community, will fuel a fleet of alternative energy trucks.
CNG is a readily available alternative fuel made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Natural gas stations provide fuel for 135,000 vehicles in the U.S., with 20 CNG fuel stations in Georgia alone. Natural gas generates up to 90 percent fewer emissions and costs about 50 percent less than traditional gasoline and diesel.
Gas South’s team has been working hard for the last six years to see CNG become a reality throughout Georgia and in particular, the metro Atlanta area. By opening another CNG fuel station, GAIN Clean Fuel, with support from Gas South, is providing carriers with better access to a domestic energy supply that is both cleaner and cheaper than traditional fuels.
Gas South helps to connect the dots between customers interested in using CNG and station owners, so it’s very important that we do everything we can to make these facilities successful. Gas South is the largest volume supplier of natural gas for CNG stations in Georgia and we are proud to have a number of facilities across the metro Atlanta area. Another plus to seeing more CNG stations open is that natural gas is abundant, domestic, inexpensive and clean – all huge benefits for our society and our economy.
“Projects like these show how great partnerships can succeed when working toward a common outcome that benefits so many,” said Clean Cities Georgia Board Chair William Cook. “In addition to the many benefits of CNG, fewer emissions will be produced which is good for the environment and for all of us. Plus, utilizing CNG helps create energy independence for America.”
Core-Mark’s commitment to a CNG program began with an initial conversion of its fleet. Today, there are 179 Core-Mark CNG tractors on the road with more planned in the future.
The other three stations in operation through this partnership are located in Aurora, Colorado; Sanford, North Carolina and Forrest City, Arkansas. A fifth station is under construction in Tampa, Florida and is scheduled to be in operation later this summer.
Click here to learn more about Gas South's Compressed Natural Gas Solution.
Many Atlanta residents are not familiar with The Wren’s Nest, but many people are familiar with the Brer Rabbit stories. The Wren’s Nest was home to the author of the Brer Rabbit stories, Joel Chandler Harris, and it’s now the oldest house museum in Atlanta. Along with tours and special events, The Wren’s Nest also offers a summer publishing program for high school students – the final project for the students is to publish a literary journal. Gas South has teamed up with the nonprofit to help raise awareness about the program and to help fund the journal. We recently spoke with Sue Gilman, executive director of The Wren’s Nest, about the 2015 Optimist Review high school publishing program.
What is your organization’s mission?
The Wren’s Nest serves as an educational resource for the community, the greater Atlanta area and visitors from around the globe by preserving the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris and the heritage of African American folklore through storytelling, tours and student publishing.
Is there an upcoming initiative you would like to highlight?
Our Optimist Review high school publishing program has produced a literary journal for the past eight summers. This summer we have eight editors in the program who come to the Wren’s Nest twice a week to learn about the publishing industry from professional writers, designers and editors. The students are also exposed to businesses, careers and behind-the-scene tours at local organizations such as CNN, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Creative Loafing.
This summer students are from Woodward Academy, Wesleyan School, DeKalb School of the Arts, Decatur High School, Dunwoody High School, Carver Early College, Georgia Cyber Academy and Riverwood International Charter School. The editors have already determined the title of the journal, Even After This Brief Eternity, which will focus on human rights and social justice issues. In order to be published in the journal, high school students from around Metro Atlanta submit fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art pieces. The final product is edited and curated by our student editors and then released at the Decatur Book Festival on Labor Day weekend. Participation in the program is free, but very competitive, for editors and contributors.
Why is your mission important?
Students who have been editors in this program have gone on to pursue English, journalism and creative writing degrees at Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Brown, Harvard, Kenyon and Wake Forest. A handful of our first year editors recently graduated from Emory and the University of Georgia and now work in the Atlanta area.
Kalin Thomas, program director added, "It’s a joy to work with such intelligent and creative young students. They all have excellent writing and leadership experience, from editing their school journal to writing for the yearbook. When I sit and listen to them brainstorm and debate the issues of today, it gives me confidence that our future is in good hands.”
How has Gas South’s partnership benefitted your organization?
Gas South’s financial support allowed the Wren’s Nest to extend the program for another summer. The sponsorship covered the cost of printing the journal and helped us to recruit and secure a great team of student editors, from a variety of high schools, to run the project.
Gas South and The Silverton Foundation have recently partnered to help families in need due to large, unexpected costs. We spoke with Josh Moffitt, president and founder of The Silverton Foundation, to learn more about The Foundation and how the partnership is making a difference in the community.
What is your organization’s mission?
When your child has a severe medical condition or illness, priorities shift in order to do whatever it takes to care for your child. Whether it’s hospital visits, long-term hospitalization or ongoing medical life-saving treatment, those costs can add up quickly and many people struggle to handle them. The Silverton Foundation was established to lessen the things families have to worry about during difficult times. The Foundation provides mortgage, rent or short-term housing payments to families with chronically ill children. We help families maintain their homes and reduce financial and emotional burdens, allowing parents to focus on getting their child better so they can return home.
Why is your organization’s mission important?
Families lose their homes for many reasons, but the two biggest reasons are because of a loss of job or health issues. In our families’ cases, the situation is even more compounded because it involves the health of their child, and in many cases, we see at least one parent lose their job to care for the child.
Is there an upcoming initiative you would like to highlight?
We have recently issued a challenge for people to moonwalk across their next finish line! At the end of any road race, graduation, you name it, we want you to take a photo or video of the moonwalk and post it to social media using the #MoonwalkYourFinish hashtag. For every post, our sponsors will make a donation to The Foundation. This is just another fun way for us to raise awareness for our cause!
Our partnership with Gas South has also raised awareness about our program. When you sign up with Gas South, you receive a 2 cent per therm discount and Gas South will also donate $50 a year to our foundation – simple and easy! Click here to watch the video on Facebook to learn more.
How has Gas South’s partnership benefited your organization?
Gas South has been a great partner in getting this initiative off the ground. It’s not only an amazing opportunity to raise awareness, but it has also provided a sustainable funding avenue for our organization – and in turn, our clients save money!
What have Gas South employees done to help?
Everyone has been very helpful with their time, energy and ideas. Even though we are a new (only three years old) and small organization, Gas South has jumped in and treated us as if we are a national brand.
Did you know the first Father’s Day was celebrated in 1914? However, it wasn’t until 1972, 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day an official holiday, that day became a nationwide holiday in the United States.
To honor fathers who work at Gas South, we spoke with a few to find out more about how they celebrate the holiday and what it means to be a dad.
- Kamden Robb, Senior Account Manager, BAGM – Christian (4)
- Greg Dunavant, Director of Customer Care – James and Woods (1.5)
- Gary Jensen, Director of IT & PMO – Smith (6) and Collier (4)
- Derek Outlaw, Customer Care Coach – Diquinne (20), Alexis (19), Dorian (15) and Danika (10)
- Dion Jones, Customer Service Representative – Azaleya Yvette (8 months)
How has your own dad helped shape how you raise your child/children?
“My dad had a blue collar job and worked long hours for many years to support our family. Because he never got a college degree, he instilled in us the need to push beyond social and financial boundaries to achieve our goals. We may not have had everything when we were growing up but I always felt loved.” – Kamden Robb
“My dad has always been supportive and is an excellent role model for my family.” – Greg Dunavant
“My dad always made an effort to be at all my sporting events and school activities which is something I’ll really try to do with my kids. It’s not always easy so it makes me appreciate his engagement in my life.” – Gary Jensen
“My father was in the Air Force so I received a lot of structure and, as a child, I was also taught responsibility very young. When my father was deployed, it was my job to maintain the lawn and make sure it passed inspection. On military housing if you fail three inspections in one year, the entire family has to move out. From this experience, I’ve placed similar responsibilities on my children. None of those would result in the family having to move if not completed but giving a child responsibilities that involve the well-being of the entire family teaches them that they need to look out for their family. It allows them to feel that they have influence or a position in the family. That’s important.” – Derek Outlaw
“My father deserves credit for everything. From the small handyman jobs around the house to changing the brakes on a car, my dad instilled in me all of the morals and values I live by today. He showed me the importance of quality time and how important a father’s presence is in children’s lives and I will do the same for my daughter.” – Dion Jones
What is one of your favorite things about being a dad?
“I love watching the pure joy in my son’s eyes when he gets to experience something new for the first time. I love having a ‘mini-me’ to do things with and pass on life lessons to.” – Kamden Robb
“I love how excited my kids are to see me when I get home from work.” – Gary Jensen
“Being a dad has made me focus on something other than myself. It’s a lot of responsibility but it also comes with great reward. To see one of my children be successful in a task or to see one of them make a long term goal and follow through with it is a moment of pride that can’t be replaced. Being a dad encourages me to be a better person because I know my kids are looking up to me as an example.” – Derek Outlaw
“My favorite part is the unconditional love your child shows you, and knowing that their life and well-being is determined by your success or failure. It keeps me focused and fuels my fire to become the greatest man I can be.” – Dion Jones
Does your family do anything special for you or for your dad on Father’s Day?
“Typically we spend Father’s Day doing something outside as a family. We like to ride our bikes on the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail. I have a tandem bike that allows my son to sit behind me while I do all the work!” – Kamden Robb
“My family usually gives me the day off. I get to sleep late and they’ll give me a few presents. Since we have a new grill, my oldest daughter will flex her grilling skills! I spend a lot of time on the grill in the spring and summer, and the kids are used to me grilling so it’s great to watch them take what they’ve seen and put it into practice.” – Derek Outlaw
“We take the day to enjoy our time together, talk about funny stories from the past, barbeque and maybe watch Rambo! I always have to watch a manly movie that day!” – Dion Jones
To honor Gas South moms, we spoke with a few mothers on our staff to learn more about their Mother’s Day plans and what it means to be a mom.
- Tiara Allen, Customer Care Representative – daughter Cayla Surai
- Sheirra Granville, Customer Care Representative – son Alijah Sherrod (13)
- LaNise Jones, Operations Specialist – son Jordan (6 months)
- Stephanie Perrone, Senior Marketing Coordinator – daughters Karina (3) and Milania (1)
- Kimberly Rollins, Customer Care Coach – daughter Jessica (17), and sons Justus (14) and Jacobi (10)
Does your family do anything special for you or for your mom on Mother’s Day?
“Every mother in my family gets together and we cook all the favorite dishes of all the moms in the family.” – Tiara Allen
“Normally I plan Mother’s Day for my mother and mother-in-law and the whole family goes along with what I plan. Since this will be my first Mother’s Day, I have no clue how it will be spent – I have been told it’s all a surprise!” – LaNise Jones
“We have a tradition of having family dinner and spending the day together. My mother lives with me, so my kids and I make sure she is treated special by showering her with gifts and taking her to brunch or dinner. Mother’s Day is a special day for my family because I’m a single mother and my mother has been my backbone! She runs the house and I make sure the needs of the family are met. She is truly a jewel and I’m thankful for all she is in my family’s life.” – Kimberly Rollins
What is one of your favorite things about being a mom?
“The warm hugs, sloppy kisses and bright smiles.” – LaNise Jones
“Watching my daughters’ personalities grow and change on a daily basis. It’s especially fun to witness mine and my husband’s characteristics and quirks emerge in their personalities – both girls love shoes as much as I do!” – Stephanie Perrone
“I love the laughter of my children. They bring me joy daily. Just to see them engaged, healthy and productive means the world to me. They’re truly my gifts and they make me proud in their studies, behaviors and character.” – Kimberly Rollins
How has your own mom helped shape how you raise your child/children?
“My mom has always been very supportive of everything I’ve been involved in. She tells me often how proud she is of the woman and mother I have become.” – Sheirra Granville
What does it mean to be a mom?
“Being a mother is my greatest accomplishment. I never knew how one small person could give me so much motivation and the unnerving desire to be the best that I can be. I appreciate life and family so much more! I respect my mom and dad for all of the sacrifices that they made for me and it reassures me that I can do the same for my child. Being a mom is awesome and I wouldn’t change it for the world.” – Tiara Allen
“Being a mom is the best feeling in the world. I strive to be the best mom I can be for my son every day. I enjoy the time we spend together and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be a mom. I don’t take the time we spend together for granted and I’ve learned over the years to cherish every moment. Everything I do is to help ensure a better lifestyle for my son and I. He’s my pride and joy and I love him with everything inside of me. It gives me so much joy to hear my son say. ‘My mom is my role model.’ It reassures me that I’m doing something right.” – Sheirra Granville
“Mother’s Day is very special to mothers and my hope is that every mother is appreciated every day, but especially on Mother’s Day. I’m thankful for having an employer that embraces mothers and all the activities we have to do in our roles. It’s truly a blessing to be called ‘mother.’” – Kimberly Rollins
For the fifth straight year, Gas South’s Bring the Heat™ campaign will donate $25 to a local nonprofit organization each time a Braves pitcher records a strikeout! This year in recognition of the 125th anniversary of the Salvation Army’s “Doing the most good,” we’re donating the money to The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta. By partnering with the Braves for Bring the Heat™, we’re able to fulfill our commitment to giving back to the communities we serve.
Gas South is the Official Natural Gas Provider and Proud Sponsor of the Atlanta Braves and since 2010, the company has contributed more than $235,500 to Georgia nonprofits through Bring the Heat™ − another great reason to cheer when the Braves strikeout the competition.
As you enjoy your hot dog and Cracker Jack’s at Turner Field this season, don’t miss the fireworks from Gas South’s sign in right field signifying another strikeout and another $25 donated to help support the great work the Salvation Army is doing in our community.
Gas South is committed to supporting the communities we serve through our Gas South Cares program. Through this program, we partner with some of the most effective nonprofit organizations in the state. Gas South would like to feature one of our most enriching partnerships, one that we are proud to work with all year long.
MUST Ministries is a volunteer-driven organization providing a range of services to needy people, from food and clothing to job training. We recently spoke with Don Crampton of MUST Ministries to learn more about the organization.
What is your organization’s mission?
Serving our neighbors in need; transforming lives and communities in response to the call of Christ.
Why is your organization’s mission important?
MUST Ministries serves close to 34,000 people in eight north Georgia counties. We’re the largest safety net for the poorest, most desperate residents in this region. MUST helps them meet their immediate needs for food, shelter, and clothing, while also providing longer-term resources, like counseling and training needed for employment.
Is there an upcoming initiative you would like to highlight?
The MUST’s Summer Lunch program serves approximately 5,000 children per day in eight counties. In 2014, 254,000 sack lunches reached hungry children in our 19th year of meeting this tremendous need. Thousands of volunteers made sandwiches, packed lunches, checked sacks, drove lunches to sites, contributed supplies, donated money and partnered in a host of ways to be sure children would not go hungry. [If you’re interested in donating your time to the Summer Lunch program, check out this site.]
How has Gas South’s partnership benefitted your organization?
We are extremely honored to have the support of Gas South for the past five years. Their desire to serve is demonstrated by their actions. Gas South has helped MUST Ministries in all areas, through volunteerism as well as corporate contributions. In particular, Gas South is a sponsor of our two largest fundraising events, the Safe Refuge Gala and the Annual Thanksgiving Day Gobble Jog. Gas South is also a major supporter of our Summer Lunch program and is the lead sponsor for our Step Up Your Game: Getting People Back to Work seminar.
What have Gas South employees done to help MUST Ministries?
Several Gas South employees have volunteered over the years to serve at MUST Ministries. More specifically, Gas South has been one of the lead participants in our employment education area, offering assistance in helping our clients to enhance resume writing skills and prepare for job interviews.
Gas South has worked with MUST Ministries for over five years, and we’d like to encourage you to get involved with the organization. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, click here.
Mary Crane Orne, senior account manager, has been working for Gas South for more than two years. Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Orne is looking forward to the biggest celebration of the year in her hometown on St. Patrick’s Day. With the holiday quickly approaching, we spoke with Orne to learn more about her family traditions surrounding the holiday and the town that hosts the celebration every year.
What are some of the things you and your family do in Savannah to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Growing up, I was in the choir at an all-girls Catholic school, St. Vincent’s Academy, and we would sing a few times each week during the month leading up to St. Patrick’s Day throughout different locations in the city. We sang at various events and for numerous groups – including nursing homes, the airport, restaurants and festivals for the grand marshal. Attending some of the events continues to be a tradition for my family during the weeks leading up to the big day.
The "Greening of the Fountain" ceremony is held the Friday before St. Patrick’s Day in Forsyth Park and the Saturday before the 17th, we attend both the Tybee Island Parade and the Tara Feis Irish Celebration. The celebration is a festival located downtown with Irish dancing, food, crafts and live music.
On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, my family and I attend mass at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist for the feast day of Saint Patrick. After mass, everyone in Savannah quickly finds a place on the street to get the best view of the parade. We set up our spot inside Chippewa Square, which is known for the famous park bench scenes from “Forrest Gump.” Once our spot is claimed, we set up tents, tables, chairs and plenty of food and drink for all, and wait patiently for the parade to start!
What do you enjoy most about St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah?
The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a “coming home” for many Savannahians, so I’m looking forward to seeing old friends. I’m also looking forward to seeing the grand marshal, the families of past grand marshals, school groups, bands and other groups in the parade. Once the parade is over, I’ll find a pub – all of which are Irish on March 17th – listen to bagpipers and try my luck at Irish dancing!
What would you tell someone considering a trip to Savannah during St. Patrick’s Day?
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and come ready to have a great time! The city closes down for the celebration and towards River Street it’s a wild party, but away from the river, a lot of families enjoy the festivities together.
One last tip – on St. Patrick’s Day, when someone greets you with the phrase, “Top of the mornin’ to ya’ ” you must respond back saying, “And the rest of the day to you.”
Erin go bragh!
Action Ministries is a non-profit organization providing a wide range of services to Georgians who have fallen on hard times. By meeting basic needs of hunger relief, housing and education, Action Ministries removes barriers that prevent thousands of Georgians from breaking the cycle of poverty and realizing their potential. We recently spoke with Rebecca Whicker of Action Ministries to learn a bit more about the organization:
What is your organization’s mission?
Action Ministries mobilizes communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief, housing and education.
Why is your organization’s mission important?
Georgia has the second largest number of homeless children in the nation, it ranks second highest in the nation in the number of homeless veterans, and it has more than one million children who are food insecure. Last year, Action Ministries was able to serve over 140,000 people with the help of partners and volunteers. We want to break the cycle of poverty and ensure that everyone has the tools they need to reach their full potential.
Is there an upcoming initiative you would like to highlight?
Our Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program is an initiative we prepare for year round. We also have our Feed the Hungry Food Box initiative, and we’ve made it easier to get involved. If any of your readers would like to help feed a hungry family they can text FOODBOX to 41444 and donate from their mobile phone. If your readers would like to keep up with the action and receive periodic updates from Action Ministries, they can text ACTIONHERO to 51555.
How has Gas South’s partnership benefitted your organization?
Gas South has given its time to support our hunger relief efforts through Smart Lunch, Smart Kid and Feed the Hungry. In the summer of 2014, with the financial and volunteer support, we were able to provide over 219,000 lunches to children in need. Gas South’s financial and volunteer support of our Food Box initiative will help us provide more than 400,000 meals to hungry families over the next few years
What have Gas South employees done to help Action Ministries?
Gas South employees participate in lunch-making events throughout the summer, providing meals to children who receive free and reduced-price lunches during the school year but are at risk of going hungry during the summer break. Gas South employees have also helped pack food boxes at our Feed the Hungry warehouse. We love our Gas South volunteers!
Gas South has worked with Action Ministries since 2012, and we’d like to encourage you to get involved with the organization. For more information on how to volunteer, click here or if you would like to donate, click here.
This month, Gas South is spotlighting several employees who previously served in the military. We’re proud that these employees, who sacrificed so much to serve our country, have chosen to work at Gas South.
Juawana (Croswell) Glass, Executive Assistant and Human Resources Coordinator, began working for Gas South after serving eight years in the U.S. Navy. Juawana says her military experience helped shape who she is today – as a person, community member and Gas South employee. We sat down with Juawana to learn a bit more about her past.
What was your occupation while in the military? What did that role entail?
I was a Religious Program Specialist in the Navy. I was responsible for preparing personnel for deployment overseas. Serving our country during times of war can be emotionally taxing, so I helped to prepare soldiers by providing them with counseling and spiritual enrichment services. My job also included administrative duties like accounting and coordinating deployment logistics.
Did you perform any tours of duty during times of war? If so, when and in what capacity?
I served during Operation Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan). My main duty was to protect the Chaplain when we went into the field and on the base during what’s called “complete base lockdown.” Chaplains are non-combatants for religious purposes, so it was up to people like me to provide security.
What was the most memorable moment of your military career?
Enlisting. After I enlisted, every moment while serving my country was an amazing experience. It was a journey that I was destined to take. From the places I traveled to the people I met, every second was memorable.
Do you currently volunteer with any community organizations? If so, what is the organization and what is your role with them?
I volunteer with the Genesis Shelter, which is a homeless shelter for babies under six months of age and their families. I’ve assisted the organization in various roles including serving food, job training and holiday drives.
Has your military past had an influence on your role in the community? If so how?
Yes, the military broadened my horizons on life and I realized my calling to give back to my community.
Why was serving your country and community important to you?
Serving my country was so important to me because it gave me a sense of pride. I’m proud to say I made a contribution to this country. I honestly miss getting up every day, putting on my uniform, and preparing to protect and serve my community.
How has your military past affected your role at Gas South?
Serving in the military has benefitted me in my role at Gas South. I’m able to utilize most of the skills I developed in the Navy here at the Gas South office.
Each November, we honor the men and women who serve our country in the armed forces. We are honored to have a number of veterans working here at Gas South.
As a salute to these former soldiers, we’re turning the Gas South blog over to them this month. We’ll be profiling employees who have served in the military, in places as far-flung as Singapore, Iraq and Japan. We’re thankful that these talented, dedicated individuals have decided to plant roots here at Gas South. We appreciate all that they do!
Employees who have served our country are:
LaTitia "Tish" Winbush, Customer Service Representative
Rhonda Garrett, Customer Service Representative
Tiara Allen, Customer Service Representative
Stephon White, Accountant
Sandra K. (Mills) Hamilton, Customer Service Representative
Juawana (Croswell) Glass, Executive Assistant and Human Resources Coordinator
Michael Clark Guice, Customer Service Representative
In our continued efforts to celebrate and support our veterans, Gas South also began offering a discount to our customers who are actively serving or have served in the U.S. military. Eligible users can visit our rates page and enter the promo code MILITARY to save 2 cents per therm on their Gas South bill.
Rony Sanon, Operations Coordinator, has worked for Gas South since 2008, when he transitioned from his role as a contractor to a full-time employee. Originally from Haiti, Sanon now resides in Marietta and says he appreciates the importance of using personal experiences to contribute to the community.
As an operations coordinator at Gas South, Sanon manages processes and reports, as well as a plethora of other duties that help the business operation run smoothly and efficiently. He also acts as liaison between Gas South and its third-party vendors, ensuring that relationships are maintained and everyone communicates their needs and goals clearly.
Sanon took some time out of his day to explain why he makes it a priority to volunteer in his community – and how doing so impacts his work at Gas South.
What projects and community organizations do you work closely with? And how long have you been working with these organizations?
I spend my weekends volunteering as a coach with Diamonds and Pearls Football Club (DPFC). DPFC is a girls’ soccer club. We use soccer as a tool to teach character building, academic excellence, and sportsmanship. I’ve worked with the soccer club since 2008, and it has been totally fulfilling. Although DPFC is located in East Point, I love being able to contribute to the community at large.
Why is community involvement important to you?
Community involvement has been an eye-opening experience for me. Volunteering with the girls at DPFC benefits the children I serve, but it is equally beneficial to me. Knowing that soccer teaches these girls lifelong skills makes it all worthwhile. I spent many days of my childhood playing soccer in Haiti, and the sport improved my character—now I can help others have that same experience.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering in the community?
Volunteering allows me to escape my day-to-day life and allows me to focus on others. I enjoy using my own experiences and skills to teach others. Since I already have soccer expertise, it’s easy for me to teach and make a big difference in the lives of the young girls at DPFC. Working with the girls quickly reminds me of how lucky I am. I have been given much in life, so I believe it’s important to give back as well. And I learn a lot from these girls.
How has community engagement affected your role at Gas South?
Gas South strives to create a culture of caring, while contributing to the social fabric of our community. I follow the same principle at DPFC: using soccer as a vehicle to do good things and improve character. The goal of teaching character building, the importance of academic excellence, and using your own personal excellence to improve the workplace are all important to Gas South. The volunteer work that I do outside of the workplace only helps to improve my performance in the workplace.
What would you tell other Gas South employees who are considering becoming more involved in their communities?
Go for it. Community involvement is worthwhile, and the personal rewards are truly priceless. The small act of giving your time is priceless. You live in the community, so don’t just take from it. You should also give back to the community in which you live. It’s all a circle: you take from it, give to it, and you will receive something in return.
Roshonda Coleman, Senior Strategic Partnership Manager, has worked for Gas South since 2006, making an impact not only on the company but the Atlanta community. Coleman, a Louisiana native who now lives in DeKalb County, has fully embraced Atlanta as her home.
While at Gas South, Coleman helped launch the Alliance program, in which Gas South partners with local cities, counties and utilities to offer discounted rates on natural gas service to residents and businesses, while raising money for the partner organizations.
Coleman also helped Gas South bring its call center in-house, giving customers the opportunity to speak with a company representative who can best handle their needs. With the opportunity of the recent housing market rebound, Coleman introduced an emerging markets strategy for Gas South that included leveraging relationships with the Real Estate Partner Program (REPP), single family home rental companies, and building companies.
Coleman is an active member in the community and is passionate about working with young professionals in her volunteer roles with American Marketing Association (AMA) and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). She took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions on community involvement and its importance in her professional life.
What projects and community organizations do you work closely with? How long have you been working with these organizations?
I've been a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA) for five years and was recently appointed to the organization’s board. I have a professional background in marketing, which has led to my involvement with other volunteer organizations around the city. I definitely have a passion for working with young people, and I currently volunteer for Junior Achievement, Waller Scholars, Leadership DeKalb, and DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. I am also helping to launch a Young Professionals blog series for the DeKalb Chamber.
What type of volunteerism do you do for these organizations?
I wanted to match my marketing background with educating young adults and helping them gain practical and applicable knowledge. Recently an opportunity with AMA allowed me to combine both of those passions by serving as the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chair for AMA. I’m really excited about this opportunity, as I am charged with helping to educate the next generation of marketing leaders.
What inspired you to become involved with these organizations?
We do on-site certifications with DECA, where we go to schools and they present school-based enterprise and new marketing platforms. I love it— that’s how I became involved with the program originally. I went on an industry certification and judged DECA competitions for 9th through 12th grade and immediately knew this was a program I wanted to continue to work with. This past May the organization held its International DECA conference in Atlanta, and I served as a judge for that competition. It is amazing to see what young minds today are coming up with.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering in the community?
When you’re able to see firsthand the impact you have on someone’s life, that’s payback enough. I get that with DECA when I see these students show their work and am able to give them feedback. I’m from a small town in Louisiana so I know first-hand the impact volunteers can have on someone’s life.
What would you tell other Gas South employees who are considering becoming more involved in their communities?
Community volunteerism is very important to me and is something I believe everyone should set time aside for. One of my favorite quotes about giving back is from Truett Cathy: “Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”
I think it’s an impactful statement and it helps to guide the decisions that I make. If people keep that philosophy in mind daily they will truly be able to bring themselves and others joy.
No one disagrees that moving is stressful. Packing boxes, harassing friends for help, renting U-hauls, scheduling service technicians, all those change-of-address forms…and that’s only phase one of the process.
Maybe you can relate to this experience? If so, you’ll remember how big the “little things” were when setting up a new home. At Gas South, we understand what a hassle moving can be, so we make it easy for customers to transfer their natural gas service. Of course, throwing in a $25 bill credit, too, helps alleviate the hidden costs of a new place -- and beats the mistake of changing natural gas providers only to incur costly connection fees and deposits.
Well, what if you’re not a Gas South customer? It’s easy to switch and Gas South never charges a deposit! You’ll also receive a $25 bill credit on your first bill, plus a special discount off Atlanta Peach Movers services, the Southeast’s largest moving company.
Transfer or start your natural gas service with us when you move. We’re ready to move when you are!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
For the third year in a row, we sponsored our annual Charity Cornhole Challenge at SweetWater Brewing’s 420 Festival. Even though the conditions were pretty gloomy on Saturday, our competitors didn’t let the weather stop them from helping out a great cause and we had an excellent turn out!
Several months ago, we partnered with Cornhole Atlanta to set up preliminary tournaments around the metro area. The winners of the preliminary tournaments faced off on Saturday with a VIP party at SweetWater up for grabs. Mike Bailey, from Perry, and his cornhole partner Bobby Mumper, from Jasper, came out on top and brought home the championship title.
Thanks to the success of Saturday's challenge, we were able to raise quite a bit of money from team registrations. Hundreds of festival goers also donated cash in exchange for some fun Gas South swag (sunglasses, ponchos, coozies, etc.). By Sunday, we had raised $7,000 which was matched by SweetWater and Gas South bringing the overall jackpot for our Charity Cornhole Tournamanent to $21,000. 16 area nonprofits competed in Sunday’s tournament for a chance to win the grand prize which was won by Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. We awarded them a big check for $15,000 and divided the remaining $6,000 among the other finalists, The Giving Kitchen, Atlanta Humane Society and Georgia Jack Russell Rescue.
Overall, it was a great weekend and we really appreciate everyone coming out. See you next year!
The SweetWater 420 Fest is THIS WEEKEND, which means it's time for Gas South's Annual Charity Cornhole Tournament. This year, we partnered with Cornhole Atlanta to host mini tournaments all around town and the ultimate showdown between the winners begins tomorrow at the festival. The champions will receive a VIP Party at SweetWater Brewery. Then, our Charity Cornhole Tournament begins on Sunday and over twenty nonprofits will be competing for $15,000! The money will be raised through the open cornhole tournaments and these funds will be matched by donations from Gas South and SweetWater.
To get everyone ready for this year's showdown, we've compiled the ultimate list of rules and regulations of cornhole.
We’ll start with the game setup:
- Make sure you’re playing on a nice flat surface with two league-approved boards. Bonus points for homemade sets!
- Boards should be two feet wide and four feet long, with a six-inch hole centered nine inches from the top. Each board should be angled with the top edge of the playing surface 12 inches above the ground, and the bottom edge propped three to four inches above the ground.
- Place the boards directly facing each other, 27 to 33 feet apart.
- Each game requires eight bean bags that weigh 15 to 16 ounces and measure roughly six inches wide.
- Cornhole can be played with two or four players. In a four-player game, your partner’s pitching box will be directly across from you. In a two-player game, if you start throwing from the left side of the board, you’ll walk directly across to the other board, and throw back from the right side.
Now that you’ve got your game set up, it’s time for some action!
- Decide who goes first. Use a coin flip to decide who tosses the first bag.
- Next, you let your opponent toss his bag. After he successfully tosses his bag, you toss yours, and well, y’all get the point.
- Your feet should never pass the front edge of your cornhole board. If you step in front of the board, you get a foul. Foul punishments vary from game to game, so don’t cross that line!
- Make sure a tossed bag never touches the ground. If it hits the ground and bounces up on the board, remove it before any other bags are thrown. If it’s hanging off the board and touching the ground, remove that as well. When all eight bags have been tossed to the other side, add up the score.
- Once all the bags are tossed, tally up the score and do your victory dance!
How you get to the victory dance:
- After all bags have been thrown, a bag remaining on the board is worth one point.
- A bag that went in the hole is worth three points.
- Add up how many points you earned and compare them to your opponents. Equal points cancel each other out so that only one team can score per round. For example, if you scored five points and your opponent scored three, you will add two points to your overall score and your team will throw first in the next round.
- If you and your opponent both scored six points, there will be no points awarded.
- A game is won when a team reaches 21 points with a lead of at least two points. The first team to win two games wins the match.
- Woody, Boarder: A bag that ends up on the board.
- Cornhole, Holer, Corn in the Hole: A bag that ends up in the hole.
- Dos Cornholes: Throwing two bags in the hole.
- Holy Moly Triple Cornholy: Throwing three bags in the hole.
- The Great Cornholio: A person that throws 4 bags in the hole. All present are required to bow down in reverence to this cornholer.
- Get that corn outta my face!: A term used whenever you successfully counteract your opponent’s attempt to score. For example, when you put a bag in the hole immediately after your opponent does or when you successfully knock your opponent’s bag off the board.
- Corn on The Cob: When a player puts every bag on the board.
- Nothin’ but Corn: When a bag is tossed right through the hole without touching the board.
Now that you’ve brushed up on your cornhole lingo, grab a six pack of SweetWater and join us for a great time!
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 Gas South's pay bill page.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Community Service Section
Two Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 19-228
Atlanta, GA 30303-3180
404-657-3426 or 1-800-869-1150 (Toll Free)
United Way of Greater Atlanta
100 Edgewood Avenue, N.E
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
The Salvation Army - Georgia Division
1000 Center Place
Norcross, GA 30093
770-441-6200 or 1-800-257-4273 (Toll Free)
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.
A recent study found that Atlanta had the worst income mobility in the U.S. and young Atlantans from low-income households have just a 13 percent chance of moving into the top 40 percent of earners.
Fortunately, there is an organization in Atlanta working to improve these odds. Year Up provides young adults with the skills, support and real-world experience they need to close the opportunity divide through internships at local businesses.
This year, two young women interned at Gas South, where they developed the critical job skills they need to join the workforce.
Jomicka Green and Liliana Tapia are Gas South’s first Year Up interns, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.
I believe Year Up training can make candidates a better fit for our company and it helps mitigate the normal hiring risk we see day to day. I wish every young person we hire could go through this class.
While programs like Year Up help companies avoid hiring mistakes, it also gives young adults, who may have a difficult time moving up the economic ladder, the opportunity of a brighter future.
Liliana told me that she had to prioritize and either stay with Year Up and be something or stay with the hostess job and be nothing. She decided she had nothing to lose. I commend Liliana and Jomicka for their determination and tenacity. And we thank Year Up for creating this incredibly successful program!
For more information on Year Up, visit the organization’s website.
For most metro Atlanta residents, staying warm this winter is as easy as turning up the thermostat. But for low-income families struggling to make ends meet, it’s not so simple. For them, even the smallest financial crisis is enough to make bill payment impossible.
Fortunately, Project SHARE offers another option to help keep families warm this winter. Salvation Army’s Project SHARE provides emergency bill-payment assistance to families facing a temporary crisis.
For the second year, Gas South will partner with the Salvation Army to offer our customers a chance to donate to Project SHARE. Gas South will match customer contributions up to $10 per month. Contributions will be used to help families in need keep their heat on this winter as well as acquire necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical supplies. Donations assist residents in all counties in Georgia, and the money collected through the program stays in the county from which it originates. Your donation will help your own neighbors in need.
Gas South Cares is our year-round commitment to giving back to the communities we serve. We strive to make a difference in our communities through hands-on volunteer work and corporate giving that focuses on community, culture, education, and service. Project SHARE is a continuation of our commitment.
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!
The Braves and Gas South present UWGA with $31,000
Velvet Washington with Gas South and Carley Jacobs with the United Way of Greater Atlanta.
Few people are called to take to the turf at Turner Field, and those lucky enough are typically Major League Baseball players and officials. There was, however, one notable exception to the rule prior the last regular-season finale between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, Velvet Washington, a Gas South employee. Velvet was the toast of ‘The Ted’ for a few memorable moments as she presented the United Way of Greater Atlanta (UWGA) with a hefty $31,000 check from Gas South as part of our Bring the Heat campaign with the Braves.
What’s Bring the Heat? Every time a Braves pitcher records a regular season strikeout, Gas South donates $25 to the UWGA. For the record, the Braves’ regular season strikeout total for 2013 was 1232 (note to all you mathematicians, we rounded our donation up by $200 to make an even $31,000).
Since 2008, Bring the Heat has contributed more than $200,000 to local nonprofits as part of Gas South’s promise to advance the communities in which we live, work and serve. While the campaign is officially over for 2013, Gas South is already looking forward to continuing Bring the Heat next year. Go Braves!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Never leave a car running in the garage. Car exhaust is one of the substances commonly associated with CO poisoning.
- 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.
- 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.
This month, Gas South employees packed nearly 1,000 lunches for Action Ministries’ Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program, which provides summer lunches to children who typically receive free lunch during the school year. Everyone contributed by bringing peanut butter and jelly, while Gas South donated lunch bags and other supplies. Many employees even invited their own kids to help out!
The break room at our company’s headquarters turned into an assembly line of bread, peanut butter, jelly and a stack of potato chips so high our employees had to stand on their toes to reach the top. Kevin Greiner, our CEO, had a spot in the assembly line and proved to be a whiz with the peanut butter and jelly!
This past week, team members at our call center held a similar event to pack more lunches for the program to help reach our goal of feeding 1,000 children in July.
For the second year in a row, Gas South pledged to help Action Ministries’ Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program meet its goal of providing 200,000 lunches to Georgia children who typically receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. With school out for the summer, many of these kids are at risk of going hungry. Action Ministries and Gas South are working to address this problem and provide kids with the nutrition they need.
Gas South is dedicated to helping the communities we serve through our Gas South Cares program.
At Gas South, we are committed to giving back to the communities we serve. That means taking part in social service projects, partnering with local schools, and sponsoring community events. It’s a part of an initiative we call Gas South Cares.
I’m thrilled to report that our efforts have been recognized. Gas South was recently named Corporation of the Year by the Council of Volunteer Administrators (COVA) of Metropolitan Atlanta.
Gas South was nominated for the award by the Georgia chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, one of the oldest and largest charitable organizations in Georgia.
COVA, a nonprofit membership organization of volunteer administrators founded in 1972, awards the Corporation of the Year award to businesses that have expressed a commitment to promoting volunteerism within the workforce.
The award recognizes Gas South employees’ dedication to reinvesting in the hometown community of our company.
Gas South received the award at COVA’s annual meeting, which took place in June. John Berry, president and CEO of Saint Vincent de Paul Georgia, gave the keynote address.
Guests also participated in a silent auction, with all proceeds providing funding for grants to help COVA members attend conferences and professional development workshops.
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.
Have you ever looked at your natural gas bill and wondered what AGL Pass-Through Charges are? AGL Pass-Through Charges are a reflection of Atlanta Gas Light’s costs for maintaining the natural gas pipelines and storage facilities, as well as reading your meter each month. Read on to learn more about AGL and how your Pass-Through charges are calculated.
Who is AGL?
Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) is the company that owns the pipeline system that delivers natural gas to your property. Rather than receiving a separate bill from AGL, AGL Pass-Through Charges are applied and 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. 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 AGL Pass-Through Charges 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.
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!
Have you heard the news? Gas South is partnering with the Salvation Army to bring Project SHARE to our customers. Last week, we collected donations of new and used blankets to bring to the Salvation Army's shelter in Atlanta. Our President and CEO, Kevin Greiner, joined several of our employees at the shelter, as we worked with the residents to make the beds. It was a great way to kick off the program and give back to those who need it most.
Project SHARE is an initiative through the Salvation Army that collects money to assist those who are less fortunate with acquiring food, shelter, clothing, medical supplies and paying utility bills. Donations through the program help citizens in all 159 counties of Georgia and the money collected stays in the county from which it originates. You can sign up with Project SHARE by pledging to contribute any whole dollar amount you choose each month. The amount will be automatically added to your Gas South bill. Gas South will also be matching your donation up to $5 per month in 2013.
We are looking forward to participating in Project SHARE and we hope you are too.
Our President & CEO, Kevin Greiner teams up with Major Todd Hawks, the Metro Atlanta Area Commander for the Salvation Army to make beds in the bunk room at the shelter.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, we want to spotlight one of our employees, Stephon White.
Stephon R. White is a husband, father, U.S. Army Veteran and a part of the Gas South Family. Stephon was born on June 14, 1981 in Tifton, GA to Leo and Debra White. He proved to be an excellent student throughout his educational endeavors and enjoyed growing up in Georgia. After his high school graduation, Stephon enlisted in the United States Army. He served active duty while stationed in Fort Polk, Louisiana for many years.
Shortly after the tragic terrorist attack on 9/11 and the declaration of a “War on Terror” by President Bush, U.S. troops were sent overseas to fight in the Iraq War. Stephon White was one of the many brave soldiers sent to fight for our country in 2003. With a lot of prayer, bravery, and faith, he was able to survive the hard times and return home after serving overseas for almost a year and a half.
Stephon has been married to a lovely woman named Starr for 7 years and they have 3 beautiful daughters; Chyanne, Cierra and Camille. Stephon has been working for Gas South since August of 2011 as our accountant and has said that his favorite part of working here is the people. “Gas South has a great office environment and friendly employees, I have enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and look forward to a great career with this company!”
We are proud to have Stephon as a member of the Gas South family and we thank and honor him and his fellow troops on this Veteran’s Day for their invaluable service to our country.
We would also like to show appreciation for two more veterans at Gas South; Kimberly Middleton and Sandra Hamilton.
As we’ve all heard, Hurricane Sandy had a devastating impact on the Northeast last week. The wake of destruction has left people without power, heat, water, food and gas. Many are homeless and many more are still without transportation. This disastrous storm hit home with our employees, as many of us have friends and family who were impacted by Sandy, from Haiti all the way up the US coast to New England. We are worried about our loved ones and we wanted to find a way to help!
We were able to find a church in one of the hardest hit boroughs of New York City, Staten Island. St. Christopher’s Church on Midland Ave. was happy to have our support and gave us a list of needed supplies. Gas South got the word out to our employees and the other companies who share our office building to bring in donations of food, clothing and other necessary items to send to NY. On November 7, we packed 12 large boxes of supplies for those in need and sent them up the coast to help the relief effort. We are proud that we were able to come together in this time of need even from thousands of miles away.
The DDDC Factor is a calculation done by Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGL) that indicates how much natural gas deliverability is reserved (or ‘dedicated’) for your home or business if Atlanta were to reach an average daily temperature of 10oF (a ‘design day’), making it unique to each home or business. You’ll see the DDDC Factor, or Dedicated Design Day Capacity, on your bill because it is used to calculate a customer’s AGL Pass-Through Charges.
How is the DDDC Factor Calculated?
The DDDC covers the cost of operating the system on the coldest day of the year, and it recalculated every year. AGL is responsible for having enough pipe and storage capacity to meet every customer’s need during extreme cold weather conditions. For most residential customers and small businesses, natural gas is used for heat. And when it’s cold outside, you’ll want enough natural gas to keep your home or business warm. Therefore, your DDDC Factor is calculated using past usage history, the number of gas appliances and additional factors that determine the location’s demand on the system.
If you are a new customer and Atlanta Gas Light does not have 12 months of consumption history, then the DDDC is calculated based on the gas equipment used, the footage and type of structure.
Why did my DDDC change?
AGL recalculates and updates the DDDC at your location annually, so each September you will see an updated DDDC on your bill. During this yearly calculation, AGL reviews the past gas consumption and usage pattern at your home or business. The most important influence on your DDDC calculation is how much gas was used last year during the coldest period of the year compared to your typical summer usage (if any). A calculation is done to determine how sensitive your consumption is to cold weather and then used to set your DDDC indicating how much capacity should be reserved for your home or business. Because your DDDC affects the AGL Pass-Through Charges, you may see a change in the amount of your bills year to year if your DDDC is adjusted.
Remember, your DDDC Factor is tied to your location as opposed to you. So, if you move, your DDDC will be changed to the DDDC of your new location and then will be reset, as usual, in September.
This week, Gas South had the opportunity to attend the opening of two new compressed natural gas (CNG) facilities right here in Georgia; the DeKalb County Station at Seminole Landfill and American Fueling Systems (AFS) station off of Buford Highway. These stations, along with other public and private locations in Georgia are the reasons why our state is continuing to lead the southeast in the field of alternative fuels. The development of CNG stations around the state have been facilitated by initiatives like Atlanta Gas Light’s (AGL) CNG Infrastructure program and public/private partnerships such as AFS's fueling station in DeKalb will be on the leading edge of the CNG revolution. This revolution has huge local and global implications that could impact the fueling, automotive and the political landscape of our state and country. Learn more about alternative fuels in Georgia at Clean Cities Atlanta and CNG Now.
CNG or compressed natural gas is a readily available alternative fuel that is made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. CNG can then be used to fuel automobiles ranging from your personal car to dump trucks. At the moment large companies such as UPS and municipalities like DeKalb County are benefitting from savings of almost a $1.50 a gallon and switching their fleets, buses, and vehicles to CNG. Currently, Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) has a leasing program that allows residents to rent a device that refuels your CNG vehicles in the convenience of your garage. To get more information regarding CNG in Georgia, feel free to comment below or email me at CNG@Gas-South.com.
So what would it take for you to buy a CNG car and be part of the CNG revolution? Click here to find out if CNG is the right solution.
Have you heard about our City, County & EMC Partner Program yet? As part of our commitment to the communities we serve, we have teamed up with 10 cities, 6 electric membership corporations (EMCs) and one county to bring our customers even more savings. New and existing customers in these areas can save an extra 2 cents per therm off any of our standard rate plans, for as long as they remain our customer! These reduced rates have saved our customers over $4 million since the inception of this program in 2007.
Additionally, these partnerships are a great opportunity for us to give back to the community. Gas South gives a contribution to our partners for each customer that signs up. To date, we have given our partners about $4.8 million! Some communities designate the money for a particular project and the EMCs usually use their portion to lower their electricity rates for their customers. For example, the City of Kennesaw put their $100,000 from the program towards renovations at Swift-Cantrell Park.
We are very proud of our Alliance program and hope that you will take advantage of the savings! Please visit our partner page to see if your community has partnered with us.