One year of safe and reliable natural gas delivery during pandemic recognized on Natural Gas Utility Workers’ Day, March 18
ATLANTA – March 18, 2021 – For many, the world changed a year ago in March, but for Southern Company Gas and its employees, the commitment to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas never stopped. Utility workers are essential personnel, and whether in the field or remote office, the company’s employees continued to fuel customers’ homes and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly 60% of the Southern Company Gas workforce has continued to report to work in a variety of first responder and field positions. The remaining 40% of its personnel have continued to work remotely until further notice, including 87% of customer contact center representatives. There were no company workforce reductions due to the pandemic and in some instances, Southern Company Gas grew its workforce at local distribution companies in Georgia and Illinois.
“Nothing is more important to me than the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company Gas. “On Natural Gas Utility Workers’ Day, and every day, I am so proud of our employees who continue to fuel customers’ homes and businesses. I especially want to recognize our field employees on the front lines for their dedication and resilience during COVID-19.”
Natural Gas Utility Workers’ Day is organized annually by the American Public Gas Association to recognize the employees who work to ensure the essential energy source is distributed safely.
Support on the front lines
In the past year, Southern Company Gas field employees have completed more than 1.7 million service and emergency work orders, some of which required entry of homes and businesses with customers who were suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. With safety as its No. 1 value, here are some ways Southern Company Gas employees, customers and communities were kept safe:
- Multiple COVID-19 safety trainings and other supplemental materials were provided to keep employees and customers safe.
- The company rented 24 additional vehicles for local distribution companies in Georgia and Virginia to help crews, who normally drive to work locations together, stay socially distanced.
- Approximately 465,000 washable masks, 313,000 disposable masks and 1.4 million nitrile gloves were among items purchased for business-critical employees. In addition, 308,000 hand sanitizer bottles were acquired, including those in partnership with the Old Fourth Ward Distillery in Atlanta.
Giving back to communities
While Southern Company Gas continued to help minimize community health impacts, economic hardships in the communities served were of critical concern. The Southern Company Gas Foundation, Southern Company Gas and its subsidiaries together invested over $3 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts in Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Here are examples of resources extended during the pandemic:
- Providing more than 150,000 meals to those in need across Southern Company Gas territories, following drive-through food drives held at local distribution companies through employee-led initiatives.
- Distributing 2,600 new coats to elementary school children from low-income families through a partnership with Operation Warm.
- Delivering more than 60,000 care packages with food and household essentials to homes of 5,800 customers in need across 180 towns in Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia in a partnership with Shipt.
- Collecting donations totaling more than $160,000 from Chattanooga Gas, Nicor Gas and Virginia Natural Gas customers for company-sponsored energy assistance programs to help other customers facing financial hardships; funds collected March 2020-October 2020 represented a 20% increase from the same time period the previous year.
- Donating $100,000 to local relief organizations to support Houston-area communities impacted by COVID-19 from Sequent Energy Management.
- Donating $25,000 from the Georgia Natural Gas Foundation to Meals On Wheels Atlanta, a nonprofit organization working to deliver nourishing food to homebound and low-income seniors in Fulton County.
For more highlights of what Southern Company Gas’ family of companies, employees and their families have done together in response to COVID-19, view this infographic or visit southerncompanygas.com/together.