THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 17

growth is not projected to be high, there
has been a significant uptick in new
housing starts. Our relationship with local
builders and trades keeps our market
penetration in new housing at 83 percent.
What are some unique ways you keep
gas costs competitive for consumers?
Our gas costs are controlled through
financial hedging, giving our customers
pricing stability, with an eye towards
lower costs. We watch for gas purchase
pricing opportunities, and recently
increased our allotment during the
shoulder months that will allow for pricing
stability for many decades.
We utilize technology so that our
well-trained staff can continue to perform
at a high level as our system and customer
base grow. These efforts have allowed
our operational costs to remain stable, or
even decline over the years. We recently
bought back a large portion of our bond
debt, and are working towards being
totally cash funded. These actions allow
us to keep our rates low for our customers.
The Gas Utility has several programs to
help customers with costs of installation
in their homes, including generous
rebates and low-interest loans. We also
have innovated programs for low income
customers, so that they can take advantage
of the benefits natural gas offers.
Safety is a vital aspect to natural gas
utilities. How do you best manage
safety on a day-to-day basis?
We consider safety a top priority for
both our employees and our customers.
Our employees are our best resource,
and keeping them safe is paramount to
our continued success. We accomplish
this through a comprehensive safety
program. We provide our employees
annual training on safety specific training,
such as proper excavation techniques,
defensive driving, working in varying field
conditions, and proper tool safety.
Our safety program is employee-led,
and revised annually to meet industry
needs and relevant topics. Monthly
tailgate meetings are held to inform and
train employees on current gas utility
safety practices, and receive feedback
from employees' issues and needs.

Monthly, formal safety meetings are
held so that all employees can share
safety near misses, and receive feedback
and advice from our Utility's certified
safety officer. Our safety officer also
uses this time to go over the multiple
site inspections he performed over the
last month. Recognition is provided to
those employees who were following
proper safety techniques and practices
during his visit.
The high point of our safety program
each year is our Annual Safety Day.
This event consists of presentations
from industry professionals on current
safety topics. This year's program had
presentations on Maintenance of Traffic
training, proper barricade setups, cell
phone use, 811, and updates to the City's
Drug and Alcohol Program. We also
provide employees new safety first aid
kits, and perform comprehensive vehicle
inspections. The employee's vehicle
whose safety equipment is complete
and well maintained is recognized. These
efforts have resulted in Tallahassee's Gas
Utility continually being a recipient of
APGA's Safety Award.
What are any marketing or
communication protocol or projects
that you have in place?
Customer engagement is critical
to our business and is a top priority
with all employees. In addition to
traditional marketing methods (ads,
radio, social media), we have several key
approaches we use to communicate
with our market.
Community events, Neighborhood
Leadership Academy, surveys, customer
service hotlines, 24/7 call support,
and instant alert email messages are
some of the methods we use to talk to
our customers. For larger projects, we
set up neighborhood project phone
lines (hotlines) with daily updates
of the projects in the area. This is
communicated to everyone within
the area and they are encouraged to
avail themselves of the information as
needed. Additionally, websites are set
up for specific areas when the project
is large and will have an extended
completion time.

How do you most utilize
APGA membership?
We have found that the best way
to maximize our APGA membership is
through involvement. We are active in
many APGA committees, and through
these committees are able to stay current
on industry issues and regulations. Our
voice, joined with other APGA members,
is stronger when proposing regulatory
modifications and changes.
Our APGA membership is also a
great way to improve our organization.
Through the APGA Community we are
able to reach a vast network of subject
matter experts on diverse topics in the
natural gas industry, and quickly solve
problematic issues. The community,
committees, and various awards and
recognition programs provide excellent
means for organizations to share best
practices. We have used our involvement
to continually reshape and improve our
Gas Utility. We are also actively involved
in APGA's Research Foundation. This
involvement allows us to help influence
research in the gas industry, and stay up
to date on cutting edge technologies
and practices.
Can you explain your efforts for
succession planning and any sort of
planning you undertake to ensure that
your utility thrives in the future?
Succession planning has given our gas
utility a systematic process for identifying
talent requirements and implementing
focused strategies to attract and develop
pools of qualified candidates to fill critical
positions within our organization.
One method we use is a Criticality
Survey, which is conducted to
determine the critical positions within
our department. Criticality is based on
position knowledge, length of service
and retirement goals of the individual
currently in the position. From this survey,
we are developing a pool of applicants to
identify existing staff with the potential
and interest needed to fill critical
positions in the future.
We have also implemented a Career
Progression Program, which lays out
development ladders for both entry
continued on page 28



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Spring 2018

First Person
APGA Events
Disasters Bring Challenges and Opportunities
Furnace Rule Update
APGA Strategic Planning
Conversation with an APGA member: Tallahassee
NGSA’s Winter Natural Gas Outlook Projects Record Demand, Matched by Robust Storage and Production
Promoting Gas Market Growth
New White Paper Offers Guidance to Natural Gas Utilities on Thriving in a Changing Landscape
Legislative Outlook
Marketing Matters
At Last
Advertiser's Index/
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - Intro
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - ebelly1
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - ebelly2
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - cover1
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - cover2
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 3
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 4
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 5
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 6
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 7
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - First Person
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 9
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - APGA Events
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - Disasters Bring Challenges and Opportunities
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 12
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - Furnace Rule Update
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - APGA Strategic Planning
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 15
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - Conversation with an APGA member: Tallahassee
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 17
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - NGSA’s Winter Natural Gas Outlook Projects Record Demand, Matched by Robust Storage and Production
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 19
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - Promoting Gas Market Growth
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 21
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - New White Paper Offers Guidance to Natural Gas Utilities on Thriving in a Changing Landscape
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 23
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - Legislative Outlook
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 25
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - Marketing Matters
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 27
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - 28
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - At Last
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - Advertiser's Index/
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - cover3
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - cover4
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - outsert1
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - outsert2
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - outsert3
THE SOURCE - Spring 2018 - outsert4