Author Archives: Jackie Bavaro

Jackie Bavaro

About Jackie Bavaro

Jackie Bavaro is American Gas Association’s (AGA) Communications Specialist. Prior to joining AGA, Jackie worked as a federal contractor at the U.S. Department of Transportation supporting the Cybersecurity program within the Office of the Secretary. Previously, in a similar capacity, Jackie worked at the Department of Labor as a business analyst, researching ways to efficiently consolidate IT investments across the Department. In August 2014, Jackie completed her Master’s degree from Georgetown University in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. Jackie holds a B.S. in Communication Studies with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University.

Jackie Bavaro AGA Member Companies Commemorate 10th Anniversary of National 811 Day

This past Friday, August 11, marked the Common Ground Alliance’s (CGA)’s 10th commemoration of its annual 811 Day, which serves as a reminder to dial 811 before beginning any digging project.

Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone started a digging project without first calling 811. It’s required by law to dial 811 to mark the location of underground utilities and pipelines in your yard, whether you’re installing a fence, deck or swimming pool, planting a tree, or beginning any excavation project on your property. Once you’ve called 811, you will be connected to a local One Call Center which gathers information about your project and alerts your local utility company. Utility crews will come to your house to locate and properly mark the utility lines near the planned project to help you avoid those areas. The process is fast and free of charge.

As part of Call 811’s 10th anniversary celebration, AGA member companies educated their customers and the communities they serve about the importance of calling 811 before digging. The following highlights showcase many of the activities AGA members and partners participated in to help spread this important message:

On Friday, Washington Gas partnered with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for its annual National Call 811 Day at Nationals Park to promote calling 811 and the importance of safety.

nats game

CGA President and CEO Sarah Magruder Lyle joined Pacific Gas & Electric in ringing the New York Stock Exchange closing bell along with a coalition of damage prevention stakeholders, reminding the public to #Call811 before digging on the 10th anniversary of 811 day.

CGA stock

CenterPoint Energy in Houston, TX hosted a downtown block party complete with food and prizes, while the utility’s Minnesota branch teamed up with line marking companies for the third annual 811 5k Run/Walk followed by a kids fun run, awards ceremony, prizes and safety fair. All proceeds from the 5k benefitted Operation Warm, an organization that provides warm winter coats to children in need.

5K

Atmos Energy kicked off National 811 Day by providing pipeline safety training to the City of Waxahachie, TX. In Ellis County, TX, Atmos has seen a 47 percent increase in requests by the public to have underground natural gas lines marked since 2008. Atmos was able to locate 2.1 million underground natural gas lines in 2016, alone.

atmos

Elizabethtown Gas participated by putting together an educational video on why you should call 811 before you begin digging a project.

According to CGA, data shows that when you call 811 before digging, you have less than a 1% chance of striking a buried line. Making a call to 811 is the easiest way to make sure you are keeping your communities safe and connected.

In addition to 811 Day, the month of April is National Safe Digging Month. As part of their ongoing commitment to safety, AGA member companies do a great deal of work to promote safe digging. If you are a natural gas utility, let us know about your activities to promote calling 811 and safe digging in the comments section below or by emailing jbavaro@aga.org. We’d love to hear what your utility has in the works and to share your activities on AGA’s social media pages and blog.

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Jackie Bavaro The Next Big Market: Small and Midsize Businesses

The August/September issue of the American Gas cover story titled, The Next Big Market, examines the energy efficiency programs at PSE&G, Con Edison, and Avista, and how targeted outreach to small and midsize businesses can lead to significant energy savings for customers.

AMGAS magThe market for retrofits in small and medium commercial building is the next step in energy efficiency, with the goal of finding the right approach and most cost-effective ways to help save energy. In New Jersey, PSE&G’s Direct Install program targets small-use customers, defined as those with 200 kilowatt hours or less in annual electricity demand. PSE&G further narrows its eligibility criteria to certified nonprofits, municipal customers such as city halls and firehouses, and small businesses in New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones that are in PSE&G’s territory. Cost-effectiveness is a key criterion in evaluating the feasibility of proposed projects. PSE&G pays 100 percent of project costs upfront, and customers repay 30 percent. Its budget for this program has been $15 million, recovered through rates, and it expects to serve 400 to 450 customers.

Con Edison’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency Gas Program targets one of its highest-consuming gas sectors—multifamily housing units—which typically shelters 30 to 40 units each. Its annual budget is $75 million, now recovered through rates. The program covers about 500 buildings a year and is nearing 3,200 total. Con Edison customer incentives support a technology upgrade in indoor temperature feedback systems, which have generated an estimated 20 percent in energy savings from heating usage by regulating boiler cycles based on indoor temperatures rather than outdoor.

Avista’s Small Business Program offers free installation of simple energy savers such as aerators, spray nozzles and showerheads for small businesses in its Washington and Idaho service territories. In addition, prescriptive rebates encourage investments in energy-efficient system upgrades. The program budget is $2 million, which encompasses the cost of the direct-labor and materials, funded from electric and natural gas Demand Side Management tariffs. As of April 2017, the program has delivered natural gas savings of more than 70,000 therms. The utility is targeting 10,000 small businesses, and about 6,000 so far have benefited from its Small Business Program. Of those, about 10 percent have pursued custom projects revealed through Avista audits, taking advantage of incentives for gas-saving upgrades to heating and water-heating systems, insulation or food service equipment.

Utilities are partnering with small and midsize businesses to enhance energy saving opportunities for their customers. By tailoring small and midsize business energy efficiency programs to local needs, experience and expectations, utilities can start to build new and highly successful partnerships.

You can access the entire article here.

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Jackie Bavaro Natural Gas: It’s Your Energy

The July cover story of American Gas magazine titled, Paving the Way to Public Acceptance, discusses how three natural gas pipeline operators have built successful public engagement strategies to help inform and involve customers.

When it comes to communicating its message to the broader public, Williams, an energy infrastructure company which has been building pipelines for more than a century, has dramatically changed  its public expectations of corporate responsibility and transparency. The company uses a variety of outreach tools—from hosting public meetings to technology-based tactics, including telephone town halls with up to several thousand participants in attendance. Over time, Williams has also taken advantage of digital and social media engagement tools. For example, Williams combined a digitized version of the economic impact statement for its Atlantic Sunrise project with an interactive map. This allowed residents to click on their communities to learn how much tax revenue the project will generate, how many jobs will be added and what local initiatives will receive Williams’ grants.

July magCoupled with social media and traditional outreach, Dominion Energy  has built a strong framework for trust building and community support around its Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project. Dominion’s recent successful interaction with residents along the pipeline’s 600-mile alignment has been a true testament to its grassroots efforts. The pipeline’s customers are local utilities that have served communities across Virginia and North Carolina for many years. With building scheduled to begin this fall, Dominion has hosted a series of construction expos with more than 1,000 in attendance while advocates of the project have taken opportunities to meet the public, from open houses to Rotary meetings to city council sessions. Trusted community voices are an important part of helping people learn how energy projects impact the daily lives of all Americans.

To that end, Enbridge, uses virtually every available communication tool to engage customers. From door-to-door conversations to high-tech digital applications with meetings along the proposed route before any permitting starts. The company also makes sure siting and construction practices are consistent with the company’s overall values. That means acting with integrity, maintaining excellent and community relations and protecting the environment. For example, one of the proposed pipelines they are working on, Sabal Trail, adjusted its route alignment nearly 200 times in response to landowners, environmental groups and local government requests. Similarly, after receiving community input, another proposed pipeline, NEXUS, adopted 239 route changes covering over 90 percent of the pipeline route.

Relationship building and social listening skills are essential to reach consumers in today’s environment. In April, AGA launched Your Energy, a national campaign to help build support for natural gas at the local level by personalizing the issue and increasing awareness and support for natural gas projects. The campaign includes community outreach, social media engagement, advertising and other promotions and has pilots in Connecticut and Virginia.

To learn more about the campaign, click here.

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Jackie Bavaro Natural Gas on the World Stage

The June issue of American Gas magazine titled, “Forward to a Sustainable Future,” highlights natural gas as a critical component of a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy system, worldwide.

Across the globe, there is a strong case for making natural gas part of a sustainable energy mix—and for its continued growth in global energy needs. According to the International Energy Agency’s Outlook, global natural gas demand grew by nearly 50 percent in 2016, with its share in primary energy demand expected to reach 24 percent, worldwide by 2040. With its environmental and economic benefits, natural gas will have a prominent role in a sustainable energy future, and it’s important that the industry continues to engage policymakers at all levels.

AMgasMajor technology breakthroughs will also have a tremendous impact on the natural gas industry. Advances in software, artificial intelligence and geospatial information systems could be applied to the efficiency and responsiveness of these energy processes. The goal is maintaining the role of natural gas in a sustainable energy plan, amid the portfolio of choices that energy companies and policymakers will have.

Organizational partnerships on the world stage have helped position natural gas for a prominent role in the drive toward a sustainable energy future. For example, the International Gas Union (IGU) has played a key part in this process by contributing data and peer-reviewed documents, engaging in debates and providing case studies on the use of gas for societal benefits. This allows a fact-based dialogue to continue on a global scale. David Carroll, IGU’s president, is leading this charge, knowing that it’s imperative to partner with organizations at an international level to ensure gas has a voice and that the prospects for natural gas are enhanced across the globe.

To that end, the World Gas Conference will be held in Washington, D.C., in June 2018. This event will include speakers from within and outside the gas industry, along with key policy makers presenting their views on the most timely and topical, technical and strategic issues and opportunities facing the natural gas industry. Twelve thousand participants from more than 100 countries are expected to attend. To learn more and to register, click here.

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