Friday, March 18, 2016

Honoring our natural gas workers

It’s time to celebrate our natural gas utility workers with a special day. This year for the first time, the American Public Gas Association has chosen today, Friday, March 18, as national Natural Gas Utility Workers’ Day. Today was chosen because March 18 was the date of the New London, Texas school explosion in 1937 that led to the widespread odorization of natural gas and an increased emphasis on safety.

Safety is a vital aspect to natural gas distribution and the employees of distribution companies endeavor to make natural gas delivery as safe as possible. It’s our MLGW gas workers who make this possible, from Engineering to Operations to Distribution and Gas Matrix. They provide one of our most valuable assets, Memphis and Shelby County’s reliable, affordable and safe natural gas service.

One of the major projects MLGW’s natural gas employees have been working on since 1992 is the Division’s 30-year natural gas cast iron pipe retrofit program. MLGW has spent $77 million on this project over the past 24 years to replace more than 330 miles of cast iron pipes with polyethylene or steel pipes. The work is scheduled to be completed by 2022. The retrofit program improves natural gas safety for the public and reinforces our infrastructure for MLGW’s future natural gas service reliability and integrity, and for earthquake mitigation.

MLGW crew leader Terry Lewis and utility workers Devin Owens and Darnell Burton are installing new 200-foot gas service line. They are among 150 natural gas workers in construction and maintenance at MLGW. The company is celebrating Natural Gas Utility Workers Day today. 

MLGW’s 150 gas workers in Construction and Maintenance install gas pipelines, maintain and inspect MLGW’s current gas infrastructure; replace cast iron pipelines as part of the retrofit program; install gas meters; and investigate, address and repair gas leaks with safety always in the forefront. Many other Gas Division employees provide engineering, supply, management, and logistical and clerical support.

“We are dedicating today, Friday, March 18, to celebrate the hard work of our natural gas utility workers in this community and across the country,” said MLGW President and CEO Jerry Collins Jr. “MLGW and our customers depend on our natural gas workers to deliver reliable, affordable and safe natural gas service. Safety is a vital aspect of natural gas delivery, and our MLGW gas workers put safety first every day. They deserve a day to be recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. A big ‘Thank you!’ goes out to our natural gas workers!”

On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, MLGW’s Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution recognizing MLGW’s natural gas workers and dedicating March 18 as Natural Gas Utility Workers’ Day to be observed today by Memphis Light, Gas and Water and the Memphis and Shelby County community.

Natural gas is a low cost fuel currently in abundance. It is also the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. TVA, who supplies electric power to Memphis and Shelby County, is in the midst of replacing the old Allen coal-burning power plant on President’s Island that supplies power to the county. The new power plant will utilize natural gas for its fuel, helping improve air quality in the region and greatly lowering greenhouse gas emissions. For more info on affordable and clean natural gas, follow this link:

As a way to avoid injuries, Felix Freeman and other utility gas workers in construction and maintenance go through a series of stretches before heading out on their first job.

About 67 of MLGW's utility gas workers in construction and maintenance at the South Service Center pose before going out on their first job assignment of the day. The group gathered at the pavilion to celebrate Natural Gas Utility Workers' Day. 

As a way to avoid injuries, about 67 of MLGW's utility gas workers in construction and maintenance go through a series of stretches before heading out on their first job. 

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