Jul
12

5 Ways to Hack Your Move

Moving can be a tricky task. With boxes, newspaper and tape galore, it’s easy to lose your wits. Keep your cool and hack your move with these five simple tips:

  1. Get to Moving: Getting started can be the hardest part! Get your toolbox ready and tighten your toolbelt with these moving day essentials: packing tape, colored tape, box cutter, gloves, plastic wrap, etc.
  2. Keep It Together: Trinkets, treasures and tiny gadgets become casualties of a move far too often. Here’s a simple fix: place a sheet of plastic wrap around your utensil tray to keep forks, knives, spoons and other kitchen gear together—just where it belongs. You can do the same with your jewelry or bathroom vanity tray.
  3. Don’t Whine Over Broken Glasses: Say ‘pass’ to broken glass. Grab an old wine box and get to packing! And if you don’t already have one at home, you can usually snag one for free at a local package store. Use the pre-cut section dividers to safely store each piece of glassware and prevent scratching, breaking, chipping or cracking.
  4. Color Code Your Move: Instead of writing room names on packing boxes, you can use color coded tape to label your boxes for the right room. Designate a color to each room—let’s say green for the living room and blue for the kitchen. You’ll keep your boxes organized and your head on your shoulders. And if you have movers, they will easily be able to know what goes where!
  5. Just Roll with It: Rock and roll your heavy items all the way to your new home with this hack: pack your heavy items in a rolling suitcase. This nifty tip will help you carry a lot while lifting a little.

For more moving tips and how-to videos, visit HackYourMove.com. And be sure to share your best moving advice on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #HackYourMove.

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.

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.

5 Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas Infographic - Gas South

Is Natural Gas Better for the Environment than Other Fuels?

Here are five reasons why natural gas is a good choice for the planet.

  1. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and a highly efficient form of energy.
  2. The simple chemical composition of natural gas lends itself to fewer impurities and generally results in less pollution.
  3. Using natural gas instead of oil or coal produces less chemicals that contribute to greenhouse gases, acid rain, smog, and other harmful forms of pollution.
  4. Natural gas promotes the use of other clean energy sources. It’s used as a raw material in lightweight cars, wind power blades, solar panels, and energy-efficient materials.
  5. Approximately 90 percent of natural gas produced is delivered to customers as useful energy. By comparison, only 30 percent of energy converted to electricity reaches consumers.
Feb
16

Natural Gas 101: 5 Reasons Smart Thermostats are Worth the Cost

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.

Want to know how smart thermostats can save you money? Here are five reasons why making the switch to a smart thermostat is the way to go.

Smart Thermostat Savings

 

  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 smart thermostat savings equal 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.

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
21

The Gas South Winter Survival Guide

It may be hot now, but those cold winter months are right around the corner. If you’re worried about staying warm and keeping money in your pocket, we’re here to help!

We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help throughout the cold winter months. You may be surprised by how a few simple changes can add up to big savings on your natural gas bill and keep you nice and toasty!

So, before the big chill comes, apply some of our Winter Survival Guide tips and show winter you mean business.

Bring the heat
This one is a given, but we’ll say it anyway: the best way to show winter who’s boss is to turn on the heat with a killer natural gas service provider. May we recommend Gas South’s fixed and variable rate plans? We hear they’ve got it going on.

Rate Plans: VARIABLE OR FIXED — Which One is Best for You?

What’s the difference?
Variable rate plans fluctuate every month according to market conditions. That means what you pay per therm this month could be more, less, or the same as the previous month. Fixed rates, on the other hand, are locked and remain unchanged throughout the term of your contract — usually 6, 12, 18 or 24 months.

Why go variable?

  • You plan to stay less than six months in your current residence.
  • You prefer not to commit to a contract.

Why go fixed?

  • You can save money. Fixed rates are generally lower than Variable rates.
  • A consistent rate helps you better manage your household budget.

Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you don’t have one yet, get one ASAP. They allow you to program temperature settings by time and day, meaning you can set the temperature lower during the hours you’re out at work or on vacation, and have it automatically raise before you return, so you’re walking into a nice and warm home. These beauties can save up to 15% on energy costs — a big return for a small investment.

Set Your Thermostat to 68º
Keeping comfortable and saving energy is important — and setting your thermostat to 68 degrees achieves both in cold weather. For every degree you lower your thermostat below 70, you’ll save an easy 5% on your heating costs. So, just a 2-degree decrease, from 70 to 68 degrees, rounds up to a nice 10% cut in your energy expenses.

With that said, DON’T turn the heat off while you’re away. It takes more energy to bring your home back to a comfortable temperature, and your pipes could burst if the temperature drops below freezing. Instead, simply lower your thermostat down a few degrees to save.

Increase Ceiling Insulation
Looking for a quick 5-25% reduction in heating loss? You can find it right above your head. If your ceiling isn’t properly insulated, it’s letting warm air out and costing you serious change as your thermostat works constantly to keep the temperature up. For best results, consider increasing your insulation to R-38.

Flip Your Fan Switch
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, you’ll want to flip that when you turn your heat on, making your fan’s blades spin clockwise. This causes the fan to produce an updraft, forcing the hot air that rises to your ceiling down and into the rest of the room.

Seal Ducts and Plug Door and Window Leaks
Another often overlooked energy-waster is leaking ductwork, which can account for more than 25-30% of heating costs in some homes! Check the tightness of ducts and be sure to plug any visible open spots with insulation material. While you’re at it, check your doors and windows — they could be responsible for wasting 10% of your energy costs. It’s worth fixing this by installing weather-stripping or caulk around leaky doors and windows.

There you have it – a winter survival guide that leaves you warm and stress-free financially. If you need help getting your natural gas up and running this winter, drop us a line!

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