(August 5, 2020)
Dear Members & Key Stakeholders:
We regret to inform you that we must cancel our 2020 Annual Membership Meeting, which was rescheduled to October 7 – 9 at the King and Prince Resort in St. Simons Island. Our top priorities for the AMM are the safety of our attendees and the quality of the meeting. As we considered the many restrictions that would have to be imposed on our attendees, it was clear that we could not host the high-quality meeting you have come to expect from us.
The King and Prince Resort has cancelled our event in their system. If you have already made hotel reservations, they have automatically been cancelled. You do not have to take any action.
Importantly, the Board Elections will be conducted virtually on October 9th, as previously rescheduled. Members and their voting delegates will be receiving a notice with instructions from the Election Committee Chairman.
The presentation of the Annual Membership Awards will also take place in October as part of our Virtual Fall Regional Meetings. Be on the look out for our notice for these virtual meetings and how you can get registered.
Finally, we are already making plans for our 2021 Annual Membership Meeting. Please mark your calendar for May 5 -7, 2021 at the King and Prince Resort in St. Simons Island. We look forward to the opportunity to be with you next year at the 2021 AMM!!
President & CEO
The Gas Authority’s 2018 Annual Report is available now! To view online, click here, or call (770) 590-1000 to request a hard copy of the report.
Through the unique partnership of Electric Cities of Georgia, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the Municipal Gas Authority we bring to Georgia’s Energy Cities a new economic development and strategic planning concept to promote sustainable growth. Review the program summary here.
The Edge Development program is designed specifically for the elected officials and staff of communities with enterprise operations, it provides the tools and support they need to lead prosperously. With an emphasis on strategy, industry and academic experts introduce a no-nonsense, customizable approach to improving a community’s quality of life through vision, planning and focused leadership. Learn more about the program at EdgeDevelopment.org.
The Gas Authority’s 2017 Annual Report is available now! To view online, click here, or call (770) 590-1000 to request a hard copy of the report.
In a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filing in support of a Connecticut natural gas pipeline expansion project, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) organization filed comments that scrutinized the motives and means of anti-fossil fuels activists. Their filing encouraged regulatory authorities to consider the economic impact of natural gas, the need for more streamline permitting procedures and to approve this particular project.
The IECA represents manufacturing operations in the United States who stated “if we do not have sufficient deliverability capabilities to move natural gas to operate our facilities, we’ll have no choice but to relocate to other states or offshore.” The IECA represents leading manufacturing companies in diverse industries, including chemical, plastic, food processing, glass, pharmaceuticals, building products, and other products employing more than 1.6 million people in the US.
The filing urged the FERC to dismiss the “Keep it in the Ground” activists’ claims because they do not represent the will or needs of energy consumers. According to FERC documents, “These activists do not represent consumers in the state and they are not accountable for millions of employees who work in our factories in order to sustain their families and lifestyles. They represent an ideology that is not realistic when it comes to commerce or the wellbeing and safety of consumers who need the natural gas from this pipeline to heat their homes. For the record, IECA and its member companies support cost-effective production of renewable energy and its many environmental benefits. However, renewable energy is not a viable alternative to replace natural gas in manufacturing.”
“Manufacturing companies cannot operate facilities on electricity alone, whether it is produced from renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, or coal. Our equipment will only operate on natural gas. And, natural gas on a Btu basis costs substantially less than a Btu of electricity. This is important because manufacturers compete globally and the competition is very tough. Business orders can be won or lost based on pennies on the dollar. If costs are not kept low, our products will be displaced by foreign imports. Due to technical limitations of manufacturers, if we were forced to stop using natural gas, we would have no choice but to shut down.”
The filing goes on to urge approvals for the pipeline project so as to not negatively impact commerce across the US, citing the integrated supply chain of manufacturers and how disruptions due to energy would have costly ramifications across the chain of goods required in manufacturing processes. IECA stated that manufacturing companies cannot grow without increased supplies of natural gas and that, in fact, a more accelerated and streamlined pipeline permitting process is necessary to enable companies to more agilely make capital investments and compete more effectively in their respective global markets.
The IECA has aggressively been representing the manufacturing sector before the FERC in several pipeline projects under review and continues to make these bold and emphatic arguments in favor of keeping natural gas at the forefront of America’s energy policies.
Shortly before the Gas Authority Annual Membership Meeting we emailed the first draft of our Vision 2020 Strategic Plan (Plan). The Plan was issued in draft form so that Members may review and comment on the complete document, which is the culmination of input from all stakeholders over the last year. We are asking for comments on the draft by mid-June. Based on feedback received we will develop a revised draft, which will be reviewed with the Gas Authority Board in late June. A final Plan should be issued in early July.
This draft Strategic Plan was developed over the last year, gathering input from our staff and from the Board, combined with interactive breakout sessions among Members at both the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 regional meetings. The discussions focused on identifying the critical success factors necessary for municipal gas utilities to thrive in the year 2020 and beyond. Importantly, the conversations were also intended to define the role of the Gas Authority in helping its Members achieve and sustain that vision.
The purpose of having a written strategic plan is to outline a vision for the Gas Authority that all stakeholders in the process can identify with, and support as a direction that will enhance the value of their joint-action agency and create additional value for Members. The Plan includes our mission and values, which remain unchanged. We know who we serve and our role, and we know how important having a natural gas distribution system is to each of our Member’s municipalities. What has changed, and continues to change is the environment in which we operate, and it is these changing business conditions that drive the strategic issues we believe need to be addressed through the Plan.
Our three Corporate Goals are similar to the goals in our last strategic plan, but are entirely focused on what we heard from our Members; specifically, what will be required for them to grow the value of owning and operating a natural gas distribution system for their customers and communities. To implement these goals, we identified three new initiatives, which will guide us in deploying resources, and hopefully engage all Members in implementing thoughtful strategies to sustain and grow their gas systems.
Please invest a few minutes to review the draft Plan, and provide any feedback that will help us finalize the Plan. If you like the way the draft looks, please let us know that too. While we have worked together for a year to develop this vision, it will take years and the ongoing commitment of all stakeholders to achieve the vision we have jointly cast.
If you did not receive a draft Plan, or if you have any questions concerning how to provide feedback, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Strippelhoff or your Member Services representative.