Category Archives: Fueling Our Communities

Jackie Bavaro #FuelingOurCommunities: Taking Care of the Environment

Natural gas utilities are #FuelingOurCommunities by making philanthropy a top priority. Be it providing meals to the homeless, supporting military veterans, or helping adults learn to read or earn a GED, natural gas utilities are true partners of the communities they serve.

This month, we are spotlighting Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Dominion and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and the variety of programs they offer to help their customers and employees actively take part in caring for the environment. In April, our members celebrated Earth Month as well as Arbor Day and activities ranged from tree plantings and beautification projects to park and downtown cleanups and much more.

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Students taking part in Dominion’s Project Plant It! tree planting activities.

Thanks to Dominion’s Project Plant It! program, students are inspired to connect with the environment by getting involved with hands-on activities that demonstrate how trees can help to moderate climates, clean the air, provide homes for wildlife and prevent soil erosion. Along with classroom materials, each child in participating classes received a free Eastern Redbud tree seedling to plant at home in honor of Arbor Day.

Since its launch in 2007, Project Plant It! has helped to teach and inspire hundreds of thousands of young students to care for the environment by planting trees. The program has distributed more than 350,000 free tree seedlings to elementary school students in regions where Dominion operates and according to the Virginia Department of Forestry, that equates to about 875 acres of new forest, if all reach maturity.

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SDG&E offers tips for safe planting during Arbor Day celebration.

Similarly, SDG&E offered best practices when planting trees throughout National Safe Digging Month and during its annual Arbor Day celebration in April. As part of SDG&E’s commitment to proper tree care, public education and the environment, SDG&E hosted an Arbor Day tree-planting event with a local elementary school in Poway, CA. Joined by students, teachers, local elected officials, and the California Fire and Urban Corp. of San Diego, SDG&E worked with teams of students to plant over 20 trees around campus. When planting trees, kids were encouraged to keep the future growth of the tree in mind. Often times, as trees grow to mature heights, they can interfere with overhead power lines and in some cases underground utility lines.

Notably, for 13 years, SDG&E has been recognized as a Tree Line USA Utility, which identifies public and private utilities throughout the nation that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America’s urban forests.

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Justin Kephart, a vegetation program manager at PG&E, talks to students at Liberty Elementary School in Santa Maria about the importance of trees, the benefits they provide and proper tree care practices.

In addition, PG&E participated in its fourth annual company-wide Month of Service celebration. PG&E customers, employees and their families participated in a variety of volunteer projects including planting native and drought-tolerant vegetation, installing rain barrels and removing trash and invasive plants to create a more welcoming and sustainable environment. The events were anchored by Earth Day projects in partnership with the California State Parks Foundation. PG&E also provided a $200,000 grant to the California State Parks Foundation for the supplies and materials to complete 10 Earth Day projects throughout Northern and Central California.

Natural gas utilities are making an impact at the local level, and yet there is a broader meaning to their dedicated action. By caring for their communities, they are lifting up our nation—helping families save money, creating good paying jobs and reducing our impact on the environment. Please use the hashtag #FuelingOurCommunities to highlight how you’re giving back so we can promote your good work on our social media channels.

Next month, we will be highlighting efforts advocating for education. Please share your initiatives with us in the comments section below or by emailing jbavaro@aga.org to be featured on the True Blue Natural Gas blog.

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Jackie Bavaro #FuelingOurCommunities: Helping Those in Need

Natural gas utilities across our country continue to make impressive strides when it comes to #FuelingOurCommunities. Not only are our member companies committed to delivering natural gas safely and reliably to the more than 177 million Americans who depend on it, they also place great pride in their commitment to service for every member of their communities. This month we are spotlighting Consumers Energy and its inspiring effort to combat homelessness and extend a helping hand to those in need.

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Consumers Energy volunteers participating in West Michigan United Way’s Food from the Heart initiative.

In June, Consumers Energy welcomed 184 new and returning interns at their annual summer luncheon. In order to provide a true understanding of the philanthropic nature that exists at the company, interns are encouraged to take part in Consumers Energy 9th annual Intern Challenge, a month-long service project designed specifically for interns to give back to their local communities throughout the state. This year, interns volunteered at a variety of nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, Jackson Interfaith Shelter and Heart of West Michigan United Way, participating in the Food from the Heart Initiative. Participants remarked on how rewarding they found this initiative; last year, interns collected 3,500 items for food pantries and assembled 130 ready-to-prepare meals that fed 260 people eligible for assistance across Kalamazoo County.

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Consumers Energy co-workers and interns building houses to support Michigan’s Habitat for Humanity.

In addition, in 2015, Consumers Energy raised more than $215,000 to go towards Michigan nonprofits on behalf of its 547 volunteers. Specifically, the company provided more than $105,000 to 30 higher educational institutions, 16 community foundations, 55 local food banks and 14 homeless shelters. Since 2001, Consumers Energy has contributed more than $955,000 to Habitat for Humanity and pledged an additional $200,000 from the Consumers Energy Foundation for its neighborhood revitalization initiative. The company believes this is a solid foundation for a long-term investment in improving the communities they work and live in.

AGA commends the remarkable efforts Consumers Energy is making to help their communities become a more vibrant and welcoming place. Please use the hashtag #FuelingOurCommunities to highlight how you and your company are giving back so we can promote your good work on our social media channels. Next month, we will be highlighting volunteer efforts geared toward taking care of the environment. Please share your initiatives with us to be featured on the True Blue Natural Gas blog.

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Jackie Bavaro #FuelingOurCommunities: Veterans

AGA’s members, natural gas utilities, are integrated in communities across the nation. Beyond the day-to-day efforts of delivering natural gas to homes and businesses, these companies make significant efforts to give back to the communities they serve. Natural gas utilities are truly #FuelingOurCommunties and we are thrilled to be able to help highlight some of their efforts through our social media platforms and here on the blog. While Veterans’ Day is not until November, many of our members have successful programs for those who have served in the military throughout the year—we have included just a few examples here.

Gas boot camp graduates and veterans Corey Douglas, left (Marines), and Michael Gibbs (Navy) are working on gas main installation projects.

Gas boot camp graduates and veterans Corey Douglas, left (Marines), and Michael Gibbs (Navy) are working on gas main installation projects.

In May, Consumers Energy was named a silver level Veteran-Friendly Employer by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for its dedication to employing military veterans. The utility partnered with Power for America and the Michigan National Guard to launch the Michigan Gas Boot Camp program, which provides opportunities for new employees — in this case Michigan National Guard members and honorably discharged military veterans — a straight-forward path to transition into good-paying, family-sustaining jobs. The four-week boot camp includes hands-on and instructional training and after a positive 90-day internship, full-time employment is offered with Consumers Energy. More than 200 applicants from across the state were interviewed with 40 veterans being selected to attend the 2016 camp.

Southwest Gas’ culture of giving is a cornerstone for the company. Each April the company holds the American Legion Post 149 Rock the Troops Poker Run, a motorcycle-centered fundraiser where proceeds go toward scholarships for deceased veterans’ children. The 2016 event was a huge success with nearly 300 registrants and nearly 50 volunteers helping with registration, logistics, providing food and much more.

SoCal Gas team of volunteers at the New Direction for Veterans Memorial Day 5K

SoCal Gas team of volunteers at the New Direction for Veterans Memorial Day 5K

In a similar vein, this past Memorial Day weekend, more than 2,000 runners and walkers of all ages honored active military and veterans at the 6th Annual New Directions for Veterans Memorial Day 5K Run/Walk. This event sponsored by Southern California Gas Co raises funds to help homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in Los Angeles County.

Thank you for your continued efforts to help veterans across the country and in your community. Please use the hashtag #FuelingOurCommunities to highlight how you’re giving back so we can promote your good work on our social media channels. Next month, we will be highlighting efforts that combat homelessness. Please share your initiatives with us to be featured on the True Blue Natural Gas blog.

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