|For Immediate Release
January 17, 2005
GNG Contacts: Randy Lewis 404-843-8228
H.E.A.T. Contact: Janet Howard-Joseph 678-406-0212
Georgia Natural Gas® Makes Record Donation To Heating Energy Assistance Team
$1 Million Donation Will Assist Georgia's Low-Income Citizens With Winter Heating Bills
Atlanta – Georgia Natural Gas (GNG), the state's leading natural gas provider, has donated $1 million to the Heating Energy Assistance Team (H.E.A.T.) Inc., a Georgia nonprofit dedicated to raising funds to assist low-income Georgians with winter heating expenses. The contribution is the largest single donation H.E.A.T. has received in its 22-year history.
GNG, part of SouthStar Energy Services, a Georgia-based joint venture between Atlanta-based AGL Resources and Piedmont Natural Gas, has contributed to H.E.A.T. consistently for several years. With this $1 million donation, GNG's donations to H.E.A.T. now total nearly $1.5 million, which equates to winter heating assistance for more than 6,000 Georgia low-income households. H.E.A.T. has agreed to GNG's request that no more than one third of the $1 million donation be distributed during each of 2005, 2006 and 2007.
"Georgia Natural Gas has a longstanding commitment to helping Georgia's low-income citizens meet their winter heating needs," said GNG President Mike Braswell. "For years we have supported H.E.A.T.'s crucial mission, both financially and through our involvement on H.E.A.T.'s board of directors. We share the agency's commitment to ‘being there' for Georgia's most vulnerable citizens."
H.E.A.T. funds are distributed by the Georgia Department of Human Resources through local community action agencies. Qualified families apply for assistance at the agency that serves their county. Family households must meet established guidelines that include income eligibility. During winter 2003-2004, H.E.A.T. provided nearly $390,000 for statewide energy assistance, which was disbursed to more than 1,800 households.
"GNG's $1 million donation alone will make a huge difference in the lives of more than 4,500 Georgia households," said Ira Shucker, chairman of the H.E.A.T board of directors. "GNG has always been generous to H.E.A.T., but this donation demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to reach more needy Georgians than ever before."
According to Braswell, the volatility of the nation's energy markets during the past four years has been most challenging for the citizens who can least afford it, particularly the elderly. "We hope this donation encourages other businesses to help ease the burden of Georgians in need."
About Georgia Natural Gas
Georgia Natural Gas is the state's leading natural gas provider, serving more than half a million customers throughout Georgia. GNG is part of SouthStar Energy Services, a Georgia-based joint venture between AGL Resources and Piedmont Natural Gas. SouthStar operates in other parts of the Southeast as SouthStar Energy Services and Piedmont Energy Company. For more information: www.gng.com.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: ATG) is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company and was named 2003 Gas Company of the Year by Platts Global Energy Awards. The company's utility subsidiaries - Atlanta Gas Light, Elizabethtown Gas in New Jersey, Virginia Natural Gas in Norfolk, Florida City Gas, Chattanooga Gas, and Elkton Gas in Maryland - serve 2.2 million customers in six states. Houston-based subsidiary Sequent Energy Management is involved in natural gas asset management and optimization, producer services, wholesale marketing and risk management activities. As a member of the SouthStar partnership, AGL Resources markets natural gas to consumers in Georgia under the Georgia Natural Gas brand. AGL Networks, the company's telecommunications subsidiary, owns and operates fiber optic networks in Atlanta and Phoenix. The company also owns and operates Jefferson Island Storage & Hub, a high-deliverability natural gas storage facility near the Henry Hub in Louisiana, and Virginia Gas, a natural gas storage pipeline and distribution company in southwestern Virginia, and a high-deliverability salt cavern storage facility in Saltville, VA. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.
About Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to 960,000 residential, commercial and industrial utility customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including 60,000 customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Its subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy- related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, interstate natural gas storage, intrastate natural gas transportation and regulated natural gas distribution. More information about Piedmont Natural Gas is available on the Internet at http://www.piedmontng.com.
The Heating Energy Assistance Team (H.E.A.T.) began as a program of Atlanta Gas Light Company in 1983 to raise money for low-income energy assistance. The program was created with the assistance of Frances F. Pauley, founder of the Georgia Poverty Rights Organization; First Georgia Bank; the Georgia Department of Human Resources; and a citizens advisory committee.
With the deregulation of Georgia's natural gas industry, H.E.A.T. became a separate 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization in May 2000. H.E.A.T. is administered under the auspices of a board of directors consisting of volunteer business and consumer leaders from around the state. Since 1983, HEAT has distributed nearly $14 million and assisted more than 70,000 Georgia households. For more information: www.heatga.org.