The American Public Gas Association (APGA) presented Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) with the prestigious APGA System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) for excellence in operating its natural gas utility. Public natural gas systems, like HG&E, are entrusted by their customers to deliver clean and affordable natural gas through a safe and reliable distribution pipeline system. To accomplish this mission, a forward thinking natural gas utility constantly strives to improve its operating capabilities, overcome challenges and adapt to its changing environment.
Out of approximately 750 APGA members, HG&E was selected for SOAR Silver Level (the second highest recognition) by its peers on the APGA Operations and Safety Committee. The selection was based on demonstrated excellence in the four areas of system integrity, system improvement, employee safety, and workforce development.
“HG&E is proud to receive the prestigious SOAR award from APGA,” said Brian Roy, HG&E Acting Gas Superintendent. “Our team is extremely proud of this accomplishment and the work we do every day to bring customers reliable service, competitive rates, and exceptional customer service.”
System integrity refers to the natural gas distribution system performing its overall intended function safely, efficiently and effectively—distributing energy to all customers without being degraded or impaired by its internal or external environment. System improvement refers to keeping the natural gas system well maintained and up-to-date through a self-improvement program that includes both an eye on the future through research and development, technology integration and a commitment to system improvement programs. Systems that exhibit excellence in employee safety include adopting a safety program that includes policies and procedures for education involvement and accountability for all employees, as well as tracking safety performance. Lastly, workforce development focuses on creative recruitment, training, education and development practices that provide a return on investment through increased employee loyalty, motivation, safety and productivity.
APGA President and CEO Dave Schryver remarked, “HG&E was highly rated in all four areas that are required of SOAR. HG&E consistently demonstrates a commitment to providing natural gas safely and efficiently to all those in their community and as such, serve as a model for all other natural gas utilities in the country. APGA is proud to recognize HG&E and is confident in their continued success.”
HG&E was one of twenty-five SOAR recipients recognized in 2020, joining the 39 previous SOAR award recipients.