Dear Members and Gas Authority Friends,
We have been closely monitoring the current health situation surrounding COVID-19 and evaluating the recommendations being given by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The safety and well-being of our Members, guests, business partners, and staff are of utmost importance to us, and with the recent public health guidelines and recommendations for reduced crowd-gathering for the next several weeks, we have made the decision to reschedule our 2020 Annual Membership Meeting.
2020 AMM – New Meeting Date
The meeting has been rescheduled to October 7-9, 2020, at the King & Prince Beach and Golf Resort in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Registration details and additional information will be updated on our website and emailed to everyone later in the year.
The Board Election will be held on Friday, October 9, and if you have any questions regarding the election, please contact our legal counsel, Peter Floyd, at Pfloyd@alston.com.
We are grateful for all our Members, Customers, and Business Partners and are committed to providing excellent service as we move forward together. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 770-590-1000.
Wishing you and your families health and safety,
President & CEO
In an abundance of caution, we have decided to cancel the remaining Spring Regional Meetings originally scheduled for March 17 (Buford), 18 (West Point), 24 (Elberton), 25 (Waynesboro), and 26 (Adairsville).
The spread of COVID-19 is concerning, and the safety and protection of our Members and Staff is paramount. We are closely monitoring developments around the spread of the coronavirus, and depending on the duration of this health crisis, we will either reschedule these meetings or host a webinar in the near future to share the content.
Regarding our 2020 Annual Membership Meeting
We are continuing to prepare for the AMM to take place April 29 – May 1. We are optimistic given the present lead time; however, as always, we are committed to the health and safety of our Members and guests, so we will continue to closely monitor information and recommendations from Governor Kemp, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Georgia Department of Public Health. If it becomes necessary to cancel or reschedule the event, we will let you know as early as possible.
A link for online registration will be emailed early next week.
Chief Membership Officer
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.