Aug
16

Gas Leak Detection Tips

Often times we only think about natural gas leaks during the holidays when we’re using the stove a lot, or during the colder months when we have the heat cranked. Even though you may not be thinking about gas leaks during the summer, accidents happen. We’re here to give you tips on detecting gas leaks in your house and how to prevent them.

Signs of a gas leak:

  • Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so a chemical called mercaptan is added to give it the distinctive gas leak smell of rotten eggs.
  • If you smell rotten egg, and you’ll know it when you smell it, leave the area immediately and stay away until assistance arrives.
  • A leak can also be heard through a hissing sound or seen as discolored vegetation, blowing dirt or continued bubbling water around a buried gas line.

What to do if you detect a gas leak:

  • Call Atlanta Gas Light at 877-427-4321 or call 911. Never try to find the leak yourself.
  • Don’t use any devices that might create a spark including lighters, light switches, phones or electric appliances.

How to prevent a gas leak:

  • Check your pilot lights and burners for a steady, blue flame. If you see the blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception – the flame is usually yellow.)
  • Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.
  • Never let small children play with, or near, natural gas appliances or pipes.
  • Don’t use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, to heat your home).
  • Store household chemicals or combustible materials away from gas appliances.
  • Call 811 before you dig, so underground lines can be marked.
  • When to enlist a professional:
    • Every year or two to have your gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business inspected.
    • When moving or installing a gas appliance, or changing a connector.

We hope you never have to deal with a gas leak but if you do, now you know how to act quickly and keep everyone involved safe.

Jun
22

Investing in your Employees

Setting yourself apart in a competitive job market and keeping employees engaged is not an easy task – but it’s something my team does every day. Growing from a company of 50 employees 11 years ago, to more than 230 people, creates challenges and opportunities but we’re taking it head-on.

The team of six has made some substantial changes in the past year –introduction of a $15 minimum wage, creation of a formalized corporate wellness program, revamping the internal learning management system and updating the attendance policy to allow more flexibility.

One area where we have focused is creating more programs and initiatives to inspire and engage employees. We launched Gas South University, an internal learning management system, to improve competency-based training opportunities for all employees. It’s important for us to offer training and classes to all employees, especially the Customer Care agents. They are the voice and ears of the company – if they aren’t happy doing their job, we can’t provide an amazing customer experience.

 

I’m also proud that we recently received a Bronze Stevie Award in the 2017 American Business Awards in the HR Department of the Year category.

We’ve been busy at Gas South, but we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to become a top workplace in Atlanta. Want to learn more about how we’re doing this? Read a recent article from HR Magazine where Secret Holland, Gas South HR director, shares her insights.

May
30

Fire up the grill with these 3 summer-ready recipes

As the weather heats up, it’s time to gear up for grilling! So, get your list together and gather the essentials: burgers, potatoes, dessert and natural gas.

What? Did you say natural gas? That’s right!

Using natural gas to heat your grill carries the same benefits as using natural gas to heat your home. It’s abundant, efficient, affordable and it burns cleaner compared to other fossil fuels.

Natural gas can cost a third less than propane, saving you extra money for all the things you want to enjoy this summer season. And, you don’t have the risk of running out of natural gas during your cookout like you do with propane, saving you a mid-BBQ trip to buy a new propane tank. (It happens; we’ve seen it.)

Whether you’re a grill novice or a grill master, these three recipes will help spark some new meal ideas and naturally spark up the grill.  Bon appétit!

Apr
19

5 Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas

Go au natural this Earth Day with natural gas! As the most diversified fuel in the U.S., natural gas heats our homes, business, restaurants and schools just to name a few. It also powers vehicles, stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, lighting fixtures and other appliances. And, it can even generate electricity and run air conditioners.

Natural gas is the ultimate alternative fuel of the future—and it’s fueling a better earth. It’s abundant, efficient, affordable and cleaner burning compared to other fossil fuels. We’re taking a moment on Earth Day 2017 to reflect on the environmental benefits of natural gas because our Earth is worth it. To learn more, check out this infographic.

Gas South Earth Day Infographic_4.19.17

Feb
16

Natural Gas 101: 5 Reasons You Should Invest in a Smart Thermostat

Today, it seems like every type of technology is going “smart” – from smartphones and smartwatches, to smart cars and smart thermostats. As smart thermostats such as The Nest grow in popularity, the reason why is no surprise: the energy-saving and cost-saving benefits are undeniable.

Curious for more? Here are five reasons why making the switch to a smart thermostat is the way to go.

 

  1. It can save you some cash. Only a few months after installation, a smart thermostat has the potential to save you a decent chunk of change. Three studies of Nest Learning Thermostat found that a smart thermostat can save you about 10 to 12 percent in heating costs and 15 percent in cooling costs in homes with central air conditioning. That can add up to ­­more than $140 a year!  You can put those extra savings into a sweet vaycay to the beach during those cold, winter months —and then save even more by setting your smart thermostat to vacation mode.
  1. It learns on its own. What’s beautiful about this innovative product is that if you really wanted to, you could go without ever having to actually touch it. The device is considered a learning thermostat, meaning it can sense even the smallest change in temperature and adjust accordingly. So whether your oven is pushing extra heat into the room or the outdoor temperature unexpectedly dropped 10 degrees, your home temperature will automatically stay right where you want it.

Additionally, some thermostats come with a built-in occupancy sensor. After a week or so of manual adjustments, the system will begin to recognize your presence and adjust on its own. A smart thermostat will correct your home to the right temperature before you even realize the change.

  1. You can control it on-the-go. Most smart thermostats come paired with iPhone and Android apps that give you the power to control your heating and cooling system anywhere you are. If you opt-out for the learning thermostat and want to keep it basic, you can manually adjust the temperature of your home with a few swipes on your phone. With the unpredictability of the outdoor weather (especially in Georgia), this feature allows you to quickly snap into action so you can at least have temperature predictability in your own home.
  1. You get instant alerts. Another perk of smart thermostats is the ability to immediately receive updates through text, email or direct notifications. For example: If a cold front comes through and your thermostat adjusts to accommodate the drop in temperature, you can opt in to be alerted of this change, along with an explanation. If you feel that the adjustment was unwarranted, you have the option of immediately reversing the change. The thermostat will then learn your preference and take it into consideration when making future automatic adjustments.
  1. See how you save. Some smart thermostats offer you a monthly report outlining your energy usage. The easy-to-read tracking system offers you insights for why certain days spiked or how you can save even more next month. You can learn how your spending compares to other users and even be rewarded for using energy-efficient settings.

Making the switch to a smart thermostat is a smart move. During the winter months, it’s the perfect tool to cut down on natural gas usage and save some cash – even throughout those hot, humid Georgia summers!

Feb
9

Natural Gas 101: How to Read Your Natural Gas Bill

We’re taking it back to the basics! Your monthly natural gas bill from Gas South provides more information than you may realize.

Reading your bill shouldn’t be a hassle, so we’ve created a tell-all guide to clear up any confusion and help you understand your Gas South bill.

  1. Account Details: This section provides your account details at a glance. It lists whether you’re enrolled in a fixed or variable rate plan. If you’re enrolled in a fixed plan, your rate remains the same month after month while variable rate plans fluctuate, according to market conditions.

The section also includes a number for the DDDC factor. What’s the DDDC factor? It’s simple. The DDDC factor, or Dedicated Design Day Capacity, is a calculation done by Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGL) that indicates how much natural gas is reserved (or “dedicated”) to you based on demand on the coldest day of the year. AGL is the company that owns and operates the pipelines that deliver natural gas directly to your home or property.

  1. Monthly Summary: This graph is a snapshot of what you owe this month. It includes your Gas South account number, your payment due date and the total amount that is due.
  1. Explanation of Charges: Here, we itemize the charges, fees and taxes associated with this month’s bill. The gas charges indicate the total cost of gas used during the billing period. The customer service fee is Gas South’s cost of servicing your account, and the AGL Pass Through Charges are regulated charges on behalf of AGL.
  1. Calculations: On each bill, Gas South provides more detailed information on your current charges. The grid encompasses readings from your meter. We then take the readings and calculate it by the thermal factor to obtain the amount of gas that is used in therms. A therm is simply a unit of heat, similar to the watts on your electric bill. Next, we multiply the therms by your current rate plan (e.g. $0.51 per therm) to determine this month’s charges.

Understanding your natural gas bill can save you a lot of grief – and using natural gas efficiently can save you money! If you ever have any questions regarding your bill, please contact us at 1-877-472-4932 to speak with a Gas South customer care representative.

Jan
4

10 Accomplishments from Gas South’s 10th Year

In 2016, Gas South celebrated its 10th year of business, and it proved a pivotal one for the company.

We’re committed to cultivating a top workplace environment, providing exceptional customer service and supporting our local community. Here are 10 accomplishments from our 10th year that reaffirm our commitment to our culture, customers and the community:

Culture

  1. We earned a coveted spot on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s 2016 Top Workplaces for the first time. More than 2,500 companies and organizations applied and ultimately 165 were recognized, including Gas South. The rankings were based entirely on responses from an anonymous employee survey.
  2. We introduced a $15 minimum wage for all employees – more than double the federal rate and nearly triple Georgia’s minimum wage. The change resulted in pay increases for approximately 25 percent of the company’s workforce and most significantly impacted employees in Gas South’s customer care department.
  3. We celebrated our accomplishments with a 10-day event commemorating Gas South’s 10-year anniversary. The event series, “10 Days of Gas South,” included a daily theme to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and dedication. This campaign was recognized with a 2016 Phoenix Award from the Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Customers

  1. We made major strides with our customer care transformation – moving from a transactional mindset to a focus on building amazing long-term customer relationships. This included an internal reorganization that moved all customer calls out of the sales organization and into the customer care organization to improve our commitment to providing the best customer service.
  2. We improved our customer communications to be more proactive, informative and actionable. Our locally-based customer care team continues to assist customers by phone as well as increasingly through social media channels.
  3. We continued to expand our increasingly popular Pick Your Perk program. We added new Pick Your Perk options, and we are increasingly communicating this program through multiple channels. We even expanded our great discounts for local attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain Park and the Atlanta Ballet with more promo codes and deals for our valued customers.

Community

  1. We sponsored the fifth annual Charity Cornhole Challenge at SweetWater 420 Fest, awarding the $10,000 grand prize to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the Southeast, as the tournament winner.
  2. We partnered with Cobb EMC to provide a Home Energy Efficiency Makeover worth approximately $20k. The makeover winners, Wes and Shannon Pilgrim, received new energy-efficient appliances, a bill credit from Cobb EMC, two years of free natural gas service from Gas South, and a new HVAC unit, water heater, insulation and duct work from Cobb Heating and Air Association members.
  3. For the sixth year, Gas South’s Bring the Heat™ campaign raised money for local nonprofits. This year, Braves pitchers threw a total of 1,227 strikeouts, resulting in $61,350 raised for The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta.
  4. We participated in Hands On Atlanta Day where 50 Gas South employees volunteered a total of 200 hours at Camp Timber Ridge in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. We helped spruce up the campground – chopping wood, clearing roadways, putting up new tents and painting pavilions.

As we reflect on our accomplishments in 2016, we’re excited for our 11th year and everything that is to come in 2017!

Nov
8

#Winning at the 2016 PRSA Georgia Awards Celebration

This past Thursday, the Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) awarded Gas South with a Phoenix Award at the 2016 Awards Celebration. These awards bring an entirely new meaning to the “blue plate special.” See what I mean?

Only 75 Phoenix Awards were presented out of more than 200 entries, and we were honored to take home a Phoenix for our 10-day event commemorating Gas South’s 10-year anniversary.

The event series, titled “10 Days of Gas South,” celebrated our achievements across Gas South’s first 10 years in business, recognized and rewarded employees, and built excitement for what’s to come in the next decade.

Each day featured a different theme. My personal favorite was probably day five’s theme –“Aren’t you glad you work at Gas South?” Employees wore their new Gas South anniversary polos and snapped selfies. The excitement about the next day’s anniversary party was palpable, and it was great to see everyone interacting and having a great time while sporting their new attire!

During the 10-day event, we engaged all of Gas South’s employees through at least one activation. The Marietta Daily Journal, Business RadioX and Metro Atlanta CEO covered our anniversary celebration with a combined reach of 150,000 impressions. On our social media channels, our anniversary-focused content helped to increase month-over-month engagement by 167 percent on Twitter and 810 percent on Facebook.

Gas South’s 10th year has been a momentous one, and receiving the PRSA Georgia Phoenix Award for our anniversary celebration is just another example of the #1 workplace environment we’re cultivating every day. #Winning

Oct
31

Tips to Avoid Five Natural Gas Nightmares

Halloween is here, the weather is getting chilly, and things are about to get a little spooky. But, have no fear – we have a few tips (no tricks!) up our sleeves to help you avoid five natural gas “nightmares!”

Nightmare #1
Unexpectedly high bills can be frightening – especially when you’re not used to having your heat turned on for the past few months – but there are ways you can save on your home energy costs.

One thing you can do is invest in a programmable thermostat. During the winter months, we recommend setting your thermostat to 60 degrees when you’re away and 68 degrees when you’re home. You can save about 5 percent on heating costs for every degree lowered in the winter months. And of course, you can do this manually if you don’t have a smart thermostat.

Nightmare #2
Remember to change the filter in your furnace or air handler regularly. A dirty air filter can cause a lot of hocus pocus – forcing your system to work harder to push air throughout your home. This results in increased energy usage, which also means a higher bill. Not to mention the added creepy crawlies like dust and allergens that can’t be properly filtered out. To avoid this potential nightmare, most HVAC companies recommend inspecting, cleaning or replacing the filter every month during the summer and winter seasons. 

Nightmare #3
Don’t let carbon monoxide creep up on you. There are easy ways to maintain your household, so you can breathe easy. Think of carbon monoxide as a ghost – you can’t see it even if it’s there. It’s a tasteless, odorless substance produced from the combustion of carbon-based substances. It can be emitted from fireplaces, faulty furnaces, generators, water heaters and other heat sources. If inhaled, carbon monoxide can be very dangerous.

Everyone should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home that will alert you when carbon monoxide levels are elevated. It’s also a good rule of thumb to never use grills, generators or camping stoves inside the home, and never leave a car running in the garage without opening the garage door. Car exhaust is one of the substances most commonly associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. Lastly, never ever try to heat your home using your stove.

Nightmare #4
A natural gas leak is the scariest of all nightmares, but there are simple ways to identify a potential leak. Because natural gas is a colorless, odorless fuel, we add a chemical odorant called mercaptan that gives natural gas the smell that’s often associated with rotten eggs. This distinctive scent allows you to detect a potential leak if it occurs. So keep a nose out for that!
When you’re inside your home, you can also listen for an eerie blowing or hissing sound. A sign of a leak outdoors may be indicated by dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area as well as dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground, or bubbling in wet or flooded areas.

If you detect a natural gas leak, remain calm and leave your home immediately. There’s no secret potion to fix a gas leak, but you can call Atlanta Gas Light at 877.427.4321 and emergency responders at 911 once you are in a safe place – away from the area of the suspected leak. Stay put until emergency personnel say it’s safe to return.

Nightmare #5
Besides asking ‘Trick-or-Treat?you should ask –Have I turned on my natural gas yet?” For seasonal natural gas customers, it’s important to sign up early so you have heat as soon as temperatures begin to drop. A lot of folks wait until it gets cold to schedule their service, but sooner is always better since it takes a few days to schedule Atlanta Gas Light to come to your house, make sure the gas line is safe and turn on your gas.

Sep
28

Millennials: Attracting Cobb’s Next Generation of Leaders

At a recent Cobb Chamber event, I shared my perspectives as a local business leader on how Cobb County is attracting and cultivating the next generation of leaders. The county has a legacy of leadership, and it’s one we hope to continue through the recent influx of millennials and the overall boom in economic activity.

From 2010 to 2015, the millennial population in the Cumberland area alone has increased by about 32 percent, making this the fastest growing millennial population in metro Atlanta. Cobb County has also been ranked one of the top millennial suburbs based on the number of millennial residents, job opportunities, and access to housing, restaurants and other nearby entertainment venues.

Drawing from these data points and my personal experience, here’s why Cobb County is a great place for millennials to work, live and play.

Work: Business is booming, and opportunities are endless for the millennial workforce. According to the Cobb Chamber’s 2016 Economic Development Guide, the county created and retained nearly 5,225 jobs with an estimated $313 million in new investments in 2015. Comcast, The Home Depot, RaceTrac, The Weather Channel and now the Atlanta Braves all call Cobb home, and so does Gas South. In 2006, we selected Cobb’s Cumberland area for our headquarters, and we continue to grow where we’re planted. In 2014, we extended our lease through 2025 and doubled our office space to accommodate our growth as we insourced our customer care team. Within the walls of our organization, 40 percent of our workforce falls in the millennial cohort.

Live: With a cost of living below the national average, there’s no shortage of affordable housing options in Cobb. With its recreational amenities, rich arts community, top-notch educational institutions and transportation options, the Cobb County lifestyle is luring millennials, including many of our team members. Since 2013, 6,800 new residential units are either under construction or awaiting zoning approval. Many of these new projects involve mixed-use developments, such as The Battery Atlanta and Jamestown’s Riverview Landing, which make it easier than ever for millennial residents to have it all in a close proximity to where they live and work.

Play: For millennials that work hard and play hard, Cobb boasts more than 100 parks, the Cobb Energy Centre and plenty of local spots to meet up with friends. Not to mention, SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta, which are arguably the most notable projects in Cobb’s history. The new developments are already attracting quality investment. Improvements are underway to address traffic concerns and increase walkability, in addition to the benefits of increasing the tax base and creating new jobs.  From The Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre and King’s Bowling alley, to chef-driven restaurant concepts by Ford Fry and Linton Hopkins, it’s not news breaking to say that this will be a go-to destination.

Gas South is fortunate to have made Cobb County our home for our first 10 years business, and we are even more bullish as we enter our second decade as a corporate citizen.