Aug
31

Providing a Living Wage for Gas South’s Employees

There are certain moments as a business leader when you can pause and feel really proud about the work your company is doing. For me, yesterday was one of those days as we announced Gas South’s commitment to providing a living wage for all employees.

Beginning September 1, all hourly Gas South employees will earn a minimum wage of $15 per hour, which is more than double the federal rate. The Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported on the story, and the positive news has echoed throughout the local media landscape. We appreciate the support and how this announcement has spread through our community.

The decision to increase the minimum wage for hourly employees at Gas South was a simple one. It’s our goal to always provide an exceptional customer experience. To do that, we must be a top place to work with a motivating environment for our employees.

Our leadership team understands that exceptional service is made possible only by the hard work and commitment of our employees – the people who live out our commitment to customer service with the utmost efficiency and integrity. They deserve fair, competitive compensation for their work, and excellent pay along with benefits like health care, paid time off, and retirement contributions are all part of what makes Gas South a great place to work.

To sum, our wage increase boils down neatly to this:

  • Approximately 25 percent of the company’s overall workforce will see an increase in pay, specifically employees working in our customer care department.
  • The average wage increase among those affected is four percent with a maximum increase of 8.3 percent.

I’d also like to note to customers that this change will benefit them as well. Our rates will be just as competitive as they have always been, and we’ll continue to provide unparalleled value to our customers. In fact, we believe that even as we raise our hourly pay, our costs of doing business will go down. That’s because a $15 minimum wage will allow us to attract and retain the very best customer care employees, providing them with greater financial security and ultimately enhancing productivity. Therefore, we see a $15 minimum wage for our team members as a win for the company, our employees and our customers.

At the end of the day, each business has to make decisions based on what is right and what is possible within its own scope. Our decision to commit to a $15 minimum wage for our employees is not a political statement; it’s a Gas South statement. At Gas South, ensuring that each member of our team earns a living wage is a priority and it’s something that makes good business sense for our company.

Aug
24

Seasonal Natural Gas Customer?

It Pays to Schedule Your Reconnection Date Early!

These days, you’re probably wearing shades and shorts, lathered in sunscreen, grilling out, and trying to stay cool during Georgia’s unforgiving summer heat. So, let’s assume that you haven’t been thinking about your natural gas service much lately. That’s understandable – you’re focused on today’s realities.

But, with football and the next season of the Walking Dead around the corner, aren’t you thinking ahead to the fall anyway? Then let’s get you thinking about natural gas again because we want to save you time, money and potential hassle.

So here are a couple of tips to ensuring a stress-free, money-smart way to reconnect with your old flame (meaning Gas South, of course):

1. Schedule your reconnection date at your earliest convenience. You’ve heard the one about the early bird and the worm. And the same applies to your natural gas service. A lot of customers wait until it gets cold to schedule their service, by which time you may find yourself duking it out with others for a reconnection date that works for you. Worse, you could also miss out on saving instant money! That’s because Gas South is waiving the $95 reconnection fee for all customers who schedule their reconnection date by September 15th. So do the smart thing: contact us now, save the money, and feel good knowing that your home will be nice and cozy come October.

2. Choose a fixed rate plan. If you know us, then you know we’ll almost always tell you to select a fixed rate over a variable rate, unless you’re moving soon. Fixed rates stay the same, are better value, and ours are some of the most competitive available.

3. Do whatever you like — hike Stone Mountain, go to the opera, catch a Braves game. Your to-do list got a little lighter, and we’d be happy to treat you to free tickets for some great Atlanta-area entertainment through our Pick Your Perk program – another cool thing about being a Gas South customer.

So don’t wait another day to schedule your reconnection date. Call or visit before September 15th. That way, when it gets cold, you won’t have to think about your natural gas.

Call: 1-888-290-4727 and mention SEASONAL.
Visit: gas-south.com/seasonal

Aug
11

How to Turn On Your Natural Gas

The Gas South Guide

Getting utilities up and running can be a hassle. We get it — we’ve been there! There’s research to be done, calls to be made and sometimes, a lot of time sitting on hold.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. At Gas South, we’re here to make it easier.

Whether you’ve just moved or you simply need to turn your service back on, you’re going to need natural gas service at some point. Fortunately, the process of getting your gas turned on can be a cinch! Just use this simple, four-step guide and you’ll be ready to go in no time.

  1. Check for service availability in your area

Not every natural gas provider serves all areas of the state, so it’s important to check for service availability before you are set on one provider. Most providers post this information directly on their website. If you’re moving to Georgia and looking to find out more, we have just the  page just for you!

It’s also worth noting that if you’re signing with Gas South, you could qualify for an additional discount if your home or apartment falls within a territory covered by our county, city and EMC programs (check out this page for a full list of partners within the program).

  1. Do your research on natural gas providers

Georgia is unique in that it’s a deregulated gas industry. Which means that you can choose a provider for your natural gas, instead of having only one option and I being chosen for you.

The good news is that there are a lot of options out there to choose from, and Gas South stands out among the providers…if we do say so ourselves.

We won’t go on and on about our own services — you can learn all about those on our Residential Page. But we will tell you that whichever provider you choose, they shouldn’t charge you a deposit to establish service. With Gas South, this can save you up to $150. Pretty cool, huh?

  1. Determine how long you need your natural gas service turned on at your residence

Once you’ve found a provider you like, you’ll want to think about how long you need service. When you think about utilities, you may not be thinking about the timeframe during which you’ll be using them, but this can have a big impact on the type of rate plan you choose, and the price you pay!

By nailing down a specific timeline, you’ll know which type of rate plan to choose right off the bat – variable or fixed (keep in mind not all providers feature both).

If you’re going to be a resident for longer than six months, a fixed rate can save you money because currently, fixed rates are lower than variable rates. Variable rates fluctuate with the natural gas markets, while fixed rates stay the same throughout your entire service period. Fixed rates can offer significant savings over a long period of time, especially during the high consumption months of winter.

  1. Pick a turn-on date that fits your schedule

Once you have your provider picked out, it’s time to schedule your natural gas turn on date and time. If your natural gas is completely turned off, a technician needs to come to your house to turn it on. If the gas is already on, all the tech needs to do is check the meter and make sure everything is up and running correctly, and safely.

With Gas South, you can schedule your turn on date 60 days in advance, which means you can lock in a great rate today, all while having ample time to prepare for winter weather. All you have to do is schedule your turn on date and leave the rest to us!

There you have it! Now that you have the steps down, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Gas South Customer Care Representative if you have any additional questions, or if you want more information on our rates and plans!

Aug
4

4 Professional Development Lessons from a Gas Pipeline

IMG_1038As an HR professional in the natural gas industry, drawing the connection between a career pipeline and a gas pipeline was an ‘aha’ moment – and a teachable lesson that really resonated with me. Here’s an excerpt from my recent presentation at the Women’s Energy Network, Greater Atlanta Chapter meeting on four professional development lessons from a natural gas pipeline.

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  1. Maintenance: Over time, gas pipelines require regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure they continue to safely and properly deliver natural gas to homes and businesses. Most industries are ever-changing, which requires you to continually fine-tune your skills and hone your craft to stay on top of your game. Every day is an opportunity to continue learning and finding ways to add more value.
  1. Growth: Maintenance alone isn’t enough – gas pipelines need to be primed for long-term sustainability so they continue to serve the growing needs. Similarly, your career needs to be targeted for growth opportunities. As you move up the corporate ladder from refining skills to refining behaviors, you’ll polish more nuanced competencies such as interpersonal skills, organization habits and critical thinking.
  1. Supply and Demand: As supply and demand have leveled out recently, so has the pricing of natural gas. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for today’s job market – especially in the metro Atlanta area where the supply of job candidates far outweighs the demand for available positions. If you find yourself hitting a road block in your career path, take a risk and find a new area where the demand is high but the supply is low. I’ve done this with my career, and it’s taken me in new, exciting directions from lobbying to PR.
  1. High Quality Service: Natural gas is a commodity, which makes it a very competitive environment for the 13 natural gas marketers in Georgia. At Gas South, we differentiate ourselves by providing an exceptional customer experience and always going above and beyond for our customers. Consistently producing a top quality work product and lightening the load for others around you will help you standout in your career and get a leg up on the competition.
Aug
2

1,215 Lunches Packed for Smart Lunch, Smart Kid

During the summer, many children go without a nutritious lunch that’s normally provided at school. Can you imagine? Feeling the excitement of summer, but not knowing if you’re going to eat that day? Or, if you’re a parent, you may have to leave your kids at home to go to work and you don’t know if they will eat that day. It’s something that no child or parent should have to worry about.

On July 20th, employees took a break from their normal routine to pack 1,215 lunches for Atlanta students who receive free or reduced lunch during the school year. The Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program is powered by Action Ministries and it ensures that these children are fed during the summer and school breaks. Unlike other similar programs, the organization delivers the lunches to the children in their neighborhoods which removes the possible issue of lack of access to transportation.

For the past five years, Gas South has packed lunches for this standout program and it’s always a great time!

The lunches were delivered to children who live in apartments in the Cascade Corridor, as well as apartments near Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The lunches included a PB&J sandwich, chips, water, fruit snacks and fruit cups.

Jul
26

Customer Spotlight: 101 Steak

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If you live in Vinings, chances are you haven’t had a bad meal in a long time. The Vinings restaurant community rivals that of many major metropolitan cities because it has some of the best southern cooking in the area.

New on the scene is Gas South customer, 101 Steak., the team behind Cibo e Beve, Food 101, Smoke Ring, and Meehan’s, opened 101 Steak last month and they have already started to become a neighborhood favorite.

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101 Steak is a flavorful addition to the Vinings restaurant community, bringing locally sourced, quality ingredients to the table and serving them with the expertise and hospitality diners have come to expect from 101 Concepts. Featuring high-quality steaks and seafood, a raw bar and more than 100 wines by the glass, the contemporary chef-driven steakhouse offers a seasonal menu that incorporates global influences into à la carte favorites and a variety of creative side dishes.

Are you hungry yet? 101 Steak shared their recipe for roasted garlic and marscapone cheese dip. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic and Marscapone Cheese Dip Recipe:
3 Heads Garlic
1 lb. Mascarpone Cheese
1/3 lb. Parmesan Cheese (grated)
1 Tbsp. Chopped Parsley
1 Tbsp. Chopped Chives
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Method:
Wrap each head of garlic individually with a piece of aluminum foil and roast in a 350-degree oven for 45-60 minutes or until the garlic is very soft (the cooking of the garlic will mellow the harshness of it). Cool the garlic and then cut it in half, squeeze out the cloves in to a mixing bowl and smash the cloves with the back of a fork, then add all other ingredients and mix vigorously (if you have a food processor or an electric hand mixer this process will be a lot easier). Serve chilled in a decorative bowl and served with warm pita bread, tortilla chips, vegetable crudités, or it can be used in tortilla wraps or as a spread on sandwiches.

Be sure to follow 101 Steak on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/101steak/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/101steak).

Jul
21

Employee Spotlight: Wellness Committee

It’s mid-summer and everyone is working hard to get in shape and make healthy decisions to look and feel their best! Gas South’s Wellness Committee works year-round to provide employees with educational tools and resources so they are able to become the best version of themselves. For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we spoke with Harli Gawronski, human resources coordinator, to learn more about the committee, their initiatives and why it’s important to provide employees with tools to succeed. Harli leads the Wellness Committee which is a team of six employees from different departments at Gas South.

When did the Wellness Committee start?

The committee started about three years ago in order to provide Gas South employees with more awareness about healthy lifestyle choices.

Why was the Wellness Committee created?

It was originally created to help employees get up and move, considering the majority of our employee sit at a desk all day. Since the start three years ago, we now have more concrete goals, leadership buy-in, employee engagement, participation and focus. We are currently working through a three-year implementation plan that aims to encourage employees to take more responsibility in managing their health and wellness. In 2015, we raised awareness about being healthy and the costs when employees make poor lifestyle choices. In 2016, we are requiring employees to take responsibility for themselves – employees will pay less for coverage by knowing their health numbers, and engaging in activities to get their numbers in the healthy range. In 2017, employees will receive financial rewards towards their medical coverage premiums tied to the results of the biometric screening, rather than just participating in the screening.

What are the focus areas and goals of the committee this year?

Since we want employees to take the initiative to be responsible for their healthy or unhealthy lifestyle decisions, we are focusing on nutrition in order to address, and then impact, the risk categories from our biometric screens – which take into consideration BMI and waist circumference.

What are the specific initiatives that will be implemented to reach those goals?

Every other month, we bring a local vegetable farmer into the office to encourage employees to investigate healthy eating options.  We also provide employees with a voucher so they do not need to spend any of their own money to make a purchase, unless they choose to purchase additional produce. We also continue to have fruit delivered every other month to create a culture of healthy eating.

Another initiative, the Wellness in Action Run/Walk Program, promotes movement and physical activity. We’re encouraging Gas South employees to walk or run in local road races throughout the year. Gas South sponsors a walk/run each month for up to ten Gas South employees and we have already had a few successful walks/runs to date!

Gas South also recently gave all employees portion plates to correspond with our initiative to improve and educate employees about nutrition’s role in a healthy lifestyle. The plate stresses healthy portion sizes and is split up into three sections – fruits and vegetables, grains, and proteins.

Do you have any employee challenges planned?

We are implementing a nutrition challenge in July and a weight loss challenge at the beginning of the year.

Why does wellness play such an important role at corporations?

Wellness can impact so many different areas of a corporation from retention to engagement to work/life balance. Wellness is also a major driver or healthcare costs.

Why is it important to you, personally, to be involved with the Wellness Committee?

To me, wellness is a lifestyle and I feel very passionate about it. Wellness is not only physical, but also mental and spiritual. It’s a holistic experience that bleeds into every part of one’s life. Secondly, being part of the Wellness Committee enables me to impact other people’s lives and for that, I’m very grateful.

Wellness committee members include:

Harli Gawronski
Julie Moffitt
Jonna Tiitinen
Denise Johnson
Tamika Smith
Brian Dugas
Tonya Long (Millennium Benefits)

Jul
11

Atlanta’s Premier Tennis Event is Back…

…and Gas South customers are in for some impressive tennis!BB&T_players-cool-1

The French Open, Wimbledon, the Rio Olympics – for tennis fans everywhere, it’s definitely a summer to relish. However, for local followers of the sport, catching a slice of world-class action doesn’t mean having to jump on a plane or even turning on the TV. The BB&T Atlanta Open returns on July 30th to Atlantic Station in Midtown, Atlanta where Gas South customers can again get free or discounted tickets to attend the region’s premier tennis event. Thinking of checking it out? Then here’s what you need to know ahead of the big tournament.

This year, all eyes will be on serving-sensation John Isner as he bids to win the weeklong event for a fourth consecutive time. If the North Carolina native pulls off the feat, he’ll be among some of the sport’s greatest to claim an ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour title event four times in a row – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Looking for another reason to get behind the crowd favorite? He’s not only considered America’s best current men’s player, he’s also a University of Georgia graduate!image007

Whether he wins or not, Isner already holds a place in the history books after winning the longest ever match in Wimbledon history in 2010. More recently, he led Team USA to victory in the first round of the Davis Cup this year. Known for a lightning-quick service game, Isner has also recorded the fastest ever serve in a tour-level match at 157 mph.

Since it started in 2009, the BB&T Atlanta Open has become a notable event on the ATP calendar. This year, it’s also the last ATP men’s event before Rio, making it the perfect primer for many competitors vying to capture an Olympic medal. Spectators can expect a highly competitive tournament, given the $693,435 prize money on the line.

To kick-off the opening weekend, tournament organizers have scheduled a much anticipated rematch of the epic final from the Atlanta games −  Andre Agassi, tennis legend and winner of the 1996 Olympic gold medal, versus Sergi Bruguera.

As the official natural gas partner of the BB&T Atlanta Open, Gas South is excited to offer our customers free tickets to attend a session through our Pick Your Perk program, as well as ticket discounts. But don’t wait too long − the tournament’s growing popularity means that tickets are going quickly! We hope to see you there!

When: Saturday, July 30 – Sunday, August 7th      
Where:
Atlantic Station
Website: www.bbtatlantaopen.com

Your Gas South Connection: For customers who have not yet used their annual Pick Your Perk offer, a free two-ticket voucher is available for select sessions. Visit www.gas-south.com/pyp for more information and to select your session. For ticket discounts, visit www.gas-south.com/offers.
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May
24

Atlanta Community Food Bank Wins $10,000 in the Gas South Charity Cornhole Tournament

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Thirteen metro Atlanta nonprofits participated in our fifth annual Charity Cornhole Challenge at SweetWater 420 Fest on Saturday, April 23 at Centennial Olympic Park. The Atlanta Community Food Bank won in the championship showdown against Georgia Jack Russell Rescue, Adoption & Sanctuary.

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Gas South awarded the $10,000 prize to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the Southeast. Each year, the nonprofit connects more than 750,000 people with over 60 million pounds of food – equating to more than 50 million meals. The $10,000 will provide 40,000 meals to families in metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

In addition to the $10,000 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Gas South also donated $4,000 to Georgia Jack Russell Rescue for second place and $2,000 to both United Way and The Giving Kitchen for third and fourth place. The money for the donation was raised at our Charity Shindig event that was held at SweetWater Brewery last month, as well as proceeds raised during 420 Fest through T-shirt and hat donations.

Cg04Z16WIAADUKg“The Charity Cornhole Challenge is one of my favorite events because it’s a fun way to rally the community together for a good cause,” said Chris Coan, Gas South vice president and general manager of business and government markets. “Gas South is an environmentally conscious company, and we’re committed to making a local impact. Because of that, we look for opportunities to align our brand with like-minded organizations, which is why we continue to partner with SweetWater year over year.”

Through our annual cornhole sponsorship, Gas South has raised more than $55,000 for local nonprofits.

“We are so grateful to be the recipients of the Cornhole Challenge,” said Kyle Waide, president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “The generous contribution will help us feed our neighbors in need. Each year, we are able to distribute enough food to provide more than 50 million meals for the hungry. We couldn’t do it without strong support from our community, including our partners at Gas South. We are already practicing to defend our title next year!”Cg0sgKtWgAAxeij

Thank you to everyone that helped support the tournament – we had a great turnout! We’re already looking forward to next year’s competition!

Apr
26

It’s Official – Gas South is a Top Place to Work!

Last month, Gas South was named one of Atlanta’s best places to work by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). The award was a deserving recognition of our unique culture that values the contributions of all employees. According to the survey, Gas South’s practices of encouraging new ideas and open communication of company decisions received the highest survey scores − earning more than 20 percent above the telecommunication and utility industry category average.

event pictureGas South was the only natural gas provider to make the AJC’s list and one of only two utility companies to receive the recognition ‒ the other being Carroll EMC. So, what makes us different from the rest?

The answer has to do with instilling a clear vision of the company’s values and the role employees play in harnessing its development and growth. Kevin Greiner, president and CEO, refers to this as Vision 2020. Employees described Vision 2020 in the survey responses as a reason the company is a top workplace, with one employee saying, “knowing leadership can get everyone on board to move in the right direction motivates me to want to be part of making it happen.”

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The AJC and Workplace Dynamics nominated or asked more than 2,500 companies to participate in the contest. Workplace Dynamics, which conducted the survey on behalf of the AJC, then surveyed employees from 275 metro Atlanta companies. Almost 60,000 total workers participated in the survey and in order to be considered, each company was required to have a response rate of at least 35 percent. The survey asked numerous questions about employees’ workplaces including the company has strong values and ethics, new ideas are encouraged, we do things efficiently and well, I feel appreciated, etc. Here are a few of examples of how Gas South employees responded:

“The company has increased my personal growth.”
“I’ve been given the opportunity to grow and express my opinions.”
“We are one big family and everyone works together!”
“Management is very involved with the company and employees.”
“I admire the strong presence that Gas South has in the community.”

The award is a fitting recognition for the company, especially for employees, as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary! We have quickly gone from a small company of 50 employees, to a market leader with more than 200 employees.

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Gas South continues to work toward the company-wide vision of being the #1 natural gas provider in the Southeast, offering the #1 customer experience and being the #1 place to work. With this award, we’re inspired to work harder and make the best even better!

To read more about AJC’s Top Workplaces and to see the entire list, visit http://www.ajc.com/s/business/topworkplaces/#the-companies.