James.qxp Jan Feb 2019 web - Page 25

A Fuel for Good
ith a father admonishing
his energetic son to close
the front door of their home
on a cool, fall afternoon, Gas
South’s television advertisement begins with a situation
familiar to most parents.
“You trying to heat the whole
neighborhood?” the father asks.
“Is that so crazy a thought?”
replies the narrator. “Heating the whole neighborhood.
Warming the lives of friends and neighbors is what
drives Gas South to be a fuel for good, whether its saving with the best rates— with no deposit— or giving
five percent of our profits to children in need. So yeah,
we are trying to heat the whole neighborhood. Gas
South. The difference is good.”
Gas South is one of dozens of Georgia corporations
who give back to their communities through charitable
giving. And while many Georgia businesses give generously to local charities, few have tied their marketing
message to their corporate philanthropy so effectively.
“Prior launching this campaign, we experienced 12
years of consecutive growth, and while price is key to
being competitive, our research also indicated that consumer values were changing, and that led us to telling our
story of giving back to the communities we serve,” explains
Kevin Greiner, President and CEO of the company.
“Utilities face the challenge of being in a price-driven category. Natural gas is a commodity, but we stand
for something more with consumers. We assist customers who struggle to pay their natural gas bills,
offer rate guarantees, and we want to be a company that people feel good about doing business with. That’s the foundation of our
Difference is Good Campaign,” Greiner says.
As president and CEO of the company,
Greiner brings more than 15 years of experience to the role, including management
roles with utility giants Southern Company,
as well as Enron in Houston and Germany,
which ultimately filed for bankruptcy in
2001. “I learned a lot and had many great
experiences at Enron, but I also learned
how not to run a business,” he says.
Greiner earned a bachelor’s degree
from Wesleyan University and graduated
from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in
business administration and a Master of Science in natural resource policy. Like most corporate leaders in metro
Atlanta and Georgia, Greiner has served on numerous
community boards, including United Way of Greater
Atlanta, where he also chaired the 2012-13 Workplace
Campaign; the Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Georgia
Partnership for Excellence in Education; the YMCA of
Metro Atlanta Executive Committee, and the Atlanta
Opera. He speaks German and is fluent in Dekatherms,
which in addition to being measure of natural gas, is also
Gas South’s employee band— where he proudly plays the
The sale of natural gas was deregulated in Georgia
about 20 years ago. The decision to deregulate Georgia’s
natural gas market was made by the Georgia General
Assembly and implemented by the Georgia Public
Service Commission.
Deregulation introduced competition, choice and
lower natural gas prices for homes and businesses. It
attracted marketers offering lower rates and better service to consumers.
Twenty-nine companies tested Georgia’s new natural
gas market. Ultimately, four marketers declared bankruptcy, six dropped out, and two invested in startup costs but
never served a customer, and ultimately had their certificates revoked by the PSC.
There are 15 natural gas marketers in Georgia. Gas
South is currently the third largest natural gas marketing
company in the state with a market share of 21 percent.
“Gas South continues to grow. When we started in
2006, we were a very different company— we had about
50 employees and approximately 160,000 customers,”
Greiner recalls. “We’ve grown to more than 225 employees and 300,000 customers. We’ve expanded into new
markets including Florida, North Carolina and South
Carolina, and our earnings have increased by more than
500 percent since that first year.”
Under Greiner’s leadership, Gas South is adjusting
to becoming a larger company and taking advantage of
what that scale can make possible. The company
recently expanded its gas trading and scheduling operation and is now investing in an application development
group, which will enhance its analytical capabilities
through a data analytics team.
continued on page 26


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