Lisa Dundon AGA Members Work To Improve Their Communities on Earth Day

Natural gas utilities safely and reliably deliver energy to more than 177 million Americans and are true partners in the communities they serve. Many utilities have served their customers for more than 100 years. It is important for the American Gas Association (AGA) and our more than 200 utility members to give back to these communities, especially on Earth Day.

Earlier this month, a group of AGA and Washington Gas staff volunteers participated in the 26th Annual Anacostia River Clean-Up as part of an Earth Day service project put on by the Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF). During the event, which took place in 209 sites along the Anacostia Watershed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, volunteers removed trash, tires and plastic bags. AGA and Washington Gas volunteers primarily focused on picking up trash in and around Four Mile Run in Shirlington, Va. According to the AFF, more than 6,000 volunteers collected 131.5 tons of trash, including 537 tires, 19,500 plastic bags and 100,600 beverage containers.

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Photo Courtesy: Washington Gas

To commemorate Earth Day, AGA member Entergy Mississippi gave a $7,500 grant to the Jackson Zoo’s Wild Learning Project, which brings Jackson Public School students to the zoo for free educational field trips. Entergy also invited their Facebook fans to post their favorite nature photographs for a chance at winning a $100 donation to an eligible nonprofit of choice.

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Photo Courtesy: Entergy Mississippi’s Twitter page

Employees of Baltimore Gas & Electric teamed up with Blue Water Baltimore to help plant trees in Cherry Hill Park on Earth Day. The trees will contribute to the growth of the tree canopy and help to work to make the watershed cleaner and healthier. Enbridge Gas is once again participating in Trees Across Toronto to help rebuild the urban forest’s tree canopy near the utility’s offices.

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Photo Courtesy: BG&E’s Facebook page

AGA member Consumers Energy celebrates Earth Day all year long focusing on a series of sustainability efforts. Since 1992, Consumers Energy has recycled 16,266 gallons of paint, 267,000 gallons of fuel, 190,948 pounds of electronics, 134,000 yards of paper, 65,000 yards of corrugated cardboard and 608,694 batteries.

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Infographic Courtesy: Consumers Energy

These are just a few highlights of the efforts underway in AGA’s members’ communities. Let us know in the comments section below what you’ve been doing to celebrate Earth Day this year. We’d love to highlight your efforts on AGA’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: April 11, 2014

Net daily injections of working gas into underground storage have signaled the beginning of the 2014 storage build up, according to Bentek Energy LLC. Natural gas directed toward power generation has fallen, as it normally does during the shoulder swing from winter to summer, and overall demand has moderated, also.

If history holds to form, May and June will be very strong months for weekly storage injections and market watchers will direct their attention to the forward futures strip for a determination as to whether significant upward pressure on natural gas prices will develop as a result of summer cooling requirements and storage injections.

The Energy Information Administration is now showing an expected volume build to slightly less than 3.5 Tcf prior to the beginning of the 2014-15 winter heating season. So many prognostications – now we will see which expectations actually materialize.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets.

Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

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Lori Traweek AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for Children

Safety is the top priority for the American Gas Association (AGA) and our more than 200 member companies across the country. It is the very reason AGA co-founded the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization dedicated to educating professionals and homeowners about the importance of following safe digging procedures, in 2000.

811logowithshovel 227x300 AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for ChildrenThis April marks the seventh annual National Safe Digging Month, an initiative put in place by the CGA to remind the public to “Call Before You Dig” to determine where your underground utility lines are located before beginning any digging project. To get started, dial 811 to be connected to your local One Call Center which will gather information about the project and alert your local utility company. Crews will then locate the utility lines near your planned project and make sure they are properly marked so you can be sure to avoid them. The process is fast, simple and free.

People digging often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked due to concerns about project delays, costs and previous calls about other projects. These assumptions can be life-threatening.

Every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. If you hit an underground utility line while digging, you can harm yourself or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially be responsible for fines and repair costs.

According to the CGA, excavation damages for all underground facilities have decreased by approximately 50 percent since 2004, thanks in large part to the engaging and innovative outreach of “Call 811” campaigns by local natural gas utilities.

Promoting safe digging awareness is just one of the many ways America’s natural gas utilities continuously work to keep communities safe and to help ensure our distribution and transmission system continues to be the safest and most reliable method of delivering energy in the nation.

In conjunction with this month’s focus on safety, AGA released a YouTube video today to help educate youth about the importance of natural gas safety in the home. The animated video, aimed at elementary and middle school aged children, explains which appliances use natural gas, how to identify a natural gas leak and what to do if a leak occurs. These key safety messages are not only critical to family and caregivers, but the next generation of utility customers. Feel free to share the video on your company’s social media platforms.

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Click the play button above to watch the video on YouTube.

We’d also like to encourage you to share your company’s plans for National Safe Digging Month in the comments section below or by e-mailing ldundon@aga.org. AGA will feature member companies on our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as future blog posts throughout April.

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Lisa Dundon LIHEAP Advocates Make Push For Greater Funding on Capitol Hill

More than 150 advocates from around the country descended upon Capitol Hill Wednesday in support of responsible funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) sponsored LIHEAP Action Day 2014 along with member companies of the American Gas Association (AGA) and the Edison Electric Institute. The day-long event is aimed at building awareness for LIHEAP. The federal block grant program provides financial assistance to low and fixed-income individuals for fuel and utility bills, as well as low-cost weatherization and energy-related home repairs.

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Representatives from Entergy meet with Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17) to discuss LIHEAP funding. Photo Credit: Entergy

Dozens of LIHEAP advocates met with members of Congress and their staff, and took to social media advocating for $4.7 billion in LIHEAP funding for FY2015. You can share your thoughts about the importance of LIHEAP by using the hashtag #LIHEAPAction.

After many years of underfunding LIHEAP, Congress funded the program at $5.1 billion in FY2009 and FY2010. Since then, funding has been cut drastically from $4.7 billion in FY2011 to less than $3.4 billion for the current fiscal year. President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget request is for $2.8 billion. These funding cuts have resulted in smaller assistance grants and fewer households served, severely limiting the program’s effectiveness.

This winter’s record breaking cold temperatures have been a stark reminder of why the LIHEAP program is so critical. Here are just a few other reasons:

  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, more than 46 million people live in poverty – the largest number in the 52-year history of published poverty estimates.
  • Even with LIHEAP funding at $5.1 billion, the amount was only enough to assist 1 in 5 eligible Americans.
  • The average low- and fixed-income family spends 13.5 percent of its annual household income on energy – almost twice the 7.2 percent spent by the average U.S. household.
  •  LIHEAP supports veterans and seniors. The number of veteran households served by LIHEAP increased by more than 150 percent over three years. Roughly 40 percent of LIHEAP recipients are seniors.
  • Roughly 75 percent of households receiving assistance earn less than $15,000 a year and 50 percent earn less than $10,000 a year.
  • Almost all recipient households support someone who is disabled, elderly, or have a child under six.
  • Home energy insecurity can lead to diminished child health, home fires and deaths, choices of “heat or eat” and homelessness.
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NEUAC’s John Rich presents U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski with the Extra Mile award. Photo Credit: NEUAC

LIHEAP Action Day concluded with a Congressional reception and the presentation of the NEUAC Extra Mile award given to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), recognizing for her longtime support of the program.

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