Category Archives: people

Jake Rubin 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

Photo Courtesy: NJNG

Photo Courtesy: NJNG

Five years ago today, high winds, tidal surges and flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy ravaged part of the Northeast United States. Just days after the storm, natural gas utilities began work in the bitter cold to restore gas service to thousands of homes and businesses ahead of the threat of a quickly approaching nor’easter. More than 300 utility workers that left the comforts of their homes in the south, mid-west and Canada to assist in recovery efforts.

Three years later, the American Gas Association (AGA) made this video to honor those that traveled so far to provide much-needed assistance. We told the stories of teams from Alliant Energy in Iowa and Wisconsin that drove to the affected area and New Jersey Natural Gas which provides safe, reliable natural gas to half a million customers in parts of New Jersey that saw massive devastation from Hurricane Sandy.

AGA closely monitored the impacts of recent Hurricanes like Harvey and Irma and continue to receive regular updates from government and our member companies about the effects of Hurricane Maria and other natural disasters that have touched our nation. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by the destruction these natural disasters have caused.

Unlike that fateful day in 2012, AGA’s Mutual Assistance Program has not been activated over the past few months. Natural gas utilities have done a tremendous job keeping their systems intact and running properly. It is incredibly rare for natural gas customers in the United States to lose service and their utilities respond swiftly and effectively if they do.

We know that there is still a lot of work to do to before homes and businesses in areas recently hit by hurricanes feel like they are back to normal. AGA will continue to seek ways to assist our members and their customers as recovery efforts continue.

Posted in people, safety, weather | Leave a comment

Jake Rubin Harvey and Irma Assessment

Hurricane Harvey satellite image - courtesy NOAA/NASA

Hurricane Harvey satellite image – courtesy NOAA/NASA

AGA is closely monitoring the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by the destruction these natural disasters have caused. There will no doubt be a long road to recovery, and natural gas utilities in Florida and Texas, and beyond, are working tirelessly to help aid in that recovery.

During a disaster of the magnitude seen with both Harvey and Irma, natural gas utilities, first and foremost, look to confirm that all employees in the affected areas are safe and accounted for and to assess injuries or safety incidents. Thus far, we are getting positive reports from our members in the affected areas and seeing encouraging accounts in the media.

SNL Energy’s Sarah Smith reported on Tuesday afternoon that, “The gas utilities of the Southeast appear to have come through Hurricane Irma with minimal infrastructure damage despite the devastation wrought over large swaths of the region.”

Smith recounts positive news from Florida Public Utilities Co., Florida City Gas and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.

E&E’s David Iaconangelo analyzes the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the oil and gas industry. He spoke with Richard Kuprewicz, president of Accufacts Inc., who said in the lead-up to Irma’s landfall that pipelines were often designed “so they can run independently, like an island on their own.”

The piece goes on to note that, “Operators of the Gulfstream and Sabal Trail pipelines, which deliver natural gas from neighboring states to central Florida, said Irma had not interrupted service.”

It is still too early in the evaluation and recovery process to determine whether or not the planned resilience of the natural gas delivery system performed as intended.

In July, the Natural Gas Council, which collectively represents companies that produce, transport and deliver clean, affordable natural gas throughout the United States, released a joint report, “Natural Gas: Reliable and Resilient” that provides a practical guide to the operational measures, physical characteristics and contractual underpinnings of the natural gas system’s exceptional record of reliability and resilience.

Dave McCurdy, our President and CEO, said, “all along the natural gas supply chain, from production to end-use delivery, the industry employs a portfolio of tools to help ensure protection of its facilities from both and physical and cybersecurity threats.”

Our thoughts are with all those in Texas, Florida and other areas hit by these natural disasters for a safe and speedy recovery.

Posted in people, safety, weather | Leave a comment

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.

foodbank3

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.

Habiat2

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.

Posted in community, Fueling Our Communities, people | Comments Off on #FuelingOurCommunities: Helping Those in Need

Lisa O'Leary #FuelingOurCommunities: So Others Might Eat (SOME)

IMG_5607Over the holidays, the American Gas Association (AGA) launched an industry-wide giving effort by designating December 2015 as Giving Month, encouraging its staff and natural gas members to volunteer time and make donations to charities in need.

The response was incredible, with support given to numerous nonprofits and local community partners across the country, including hunger relief organizations, military retirement communities, winter coat and toy drives for children, and laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.

AGABecause of the great feedback and interest from AGA staff to continue this effort in Washington, D.C., monthly volunteer opportunities have continued at So Others Might Eat (SOME), an interfaith, community-based organization that assists the poor and homeless by serving meals to those in need in the area. Here are some of the things AGA staff have shared about their experiences thus far:

“Truly a wonderful experience – the folks that run SOME are really professional, caring and friendly people who make all feel welcome.”

“SOME is at the intersection of humanity where good comes to the assistance of need.”

“Volunteering at SOME is a wonderful opportunity to give a little of ourselves to those that are less fortunate.”

Sign outsideIn addition to feeding nearly 200 people each day, SOME offers services to help break the cycle of homelessness, such as affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment and counseling, to the poor, the elderly and individuals with mental illness.

AGA is grateful for the opportunity to continue to volunteer with SOME and looks forward to helping to serve hundreds of meals throughout the year. To look back on AGA’s members’ activities during the holiday season search #FuelingOurCommunities on Twitter.

Posted in community, energy, Giving Month 2015, people | Comments Off on #FuelingOurCommunities: So Others Might Eat (SOME)