Atlanta Gas Light conducts emergency response training drill in Cobb County
May 11, 2011
ATLANTA, May 11, 2011 - Atlanta Gas Light today teamed with first responders in Cobb County and the City of Kennesaw to evaluate the readiness of both utility and public safety personnel to respond to natural gas pipeline incidents.
Atlanta Gas Light is required by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to annually perform field safety drills in conjunction with local emergency responders. Company personnel and first responders are checked for their ability to respond appropriately and safely in order to affect an emergency shutdown that minimizes hazards to life and property.
"We are pleased to partner with Cobb County and the City of Kennesaw on this important safety initiative," said Steve Lindsey, vice president and general manager, Atlanta Gas Light. "We are grateful that county leaders reached out to us to demonstrate our shared commitment to safety and to showcase the training that our organizations undertake to protect lives and property as we safely deliver natural gas to hundreds of thousands of businesses and residents in Cobb County."
The drill, held in an industrial area west of McCollum Airport, began with a call from a nearby business to 911 informing the operator (after first stating this is a drill) that a contractor working near a 12-inch diameter natural gas line had cut the line and the odor of natural gas could be detected. Some area businesses used the exercise to practice their own evacuation procedures. As part of the exercise of successfully shutting down the pipeline, first responders participated in a "live-fire" educational exercise to learn the proper method of shutting down and fighting burning gas on a smaller diameter pipe.
Following the drill, Atlanta Gas Light personnel and the responding agencies met to debrief on the mock incident to determine whether procedures were effectively followed and to identify training opportunities to enhance capability for proper response.
Employees at Atlanta Gas Light undertake a wide range of safety procedures and programs to reliably operate its natural gas distribution system, including:
· Performing regular visual inspections and leak surveys of its systems to identify potential problems;
· Identifying and replacing aging pipeline and upgrading and modernizing other portions of its system to maintain proper pressure and reliability;
· Maintaining detailed requirements for qualification and inspection of construction techniques used in its systems;
· Adding mercaptan, a rotten-egg smell, to odorless natural gas so that customers and the public can smell leaks if they happen;
· Educating the public on “Call Before You Dig” and dialing 8-1-1 to prevent third-party damage to natural gas pipelines;
· Supporting research and development focused on inspection technologies, pipeline integrity, corrosion prevention and construction techniques through the American Gas Association; and
· Maintaining up-to-date emergency response plans and meeting regularly with first responders.
Natural gas utilities are subject not only to their own stringent internal controls, but also must meet rigorous federal and state oversight to ensure that natural gas is delivered safely, reliably and efficiently through its 2.4 million miles of distribution and transmission pipeline, which serves more than 165 million Americans daily.
Since 1988, the overall serious incident trend, as defined by the Department of Transportation, for natural gas transmission pipelines has declined while the number of customers has increased over the same time period. Education has played a role in reducing third-party damage to utilities. Third-party excavation damage, such as the scenario played out in the field exercise in Cobb County, is the primary threat to the safe operation of the natural gas line system.
About Atlanta Gas Light
Atlanta Gas Light, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: AGL), provides natural gas delivery service to more than 1.5 million customers in Georgia. In operation since 1856, the company is one of the oldest corporations in the state. For more information, visit www.atlantagaslight.com.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: AGL), an Atlanta-based energy services company, serves approximately 2.3 million customers in six states. The company also owns Houston-based Sequent Energy Management, an asset manager serving natural gas wholesale customers throughout North America. As an 85-percent owner in the SouthStar partnership, AGL Resources markets natural gas to consumers in Georgia under the Georgia Natural Gas brand. The company also owns and operates two high-deliverability natural gas storage facilities: Jefferson Island Storage & Hub near the Henry Hub in Louisiana and Golden Triangle Storage in Texas. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tami Gerke