When conditions worsen, our most important work begins. In times of extreme weather and emergency situations, Nicor Gas employees head straight to the front lines, dispatched at any time of the day or night, to ensure continued delivery of clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy. When dangerous weather strikes, we head out so others can head in. Prepared, compassionate and ready – we’re always here.
As a potent blast of cold air begins to descend from the Arctic into the Midwest, our team is prepared to brave subzero temperatures to keep customers safe and warm.
Temperatures are forecast to dip below zero with a wind chill nearing minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit in some places. In preparation for these extreme conditions, our dedicated team here at Nicor Gas, a subsidiary of Southern Company Gas, have been gearing up to maintain gas service that is critical to the safety and comfort of customers.
“This is where we deliver on our promise and our commitment to customers,” said John Hudson III, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. “The warmth of clean, safe, reliable, affordable natural gas is more than just a comfort, it is life sustaining in many cases. So as this cold air moves in, our crews will safely head out into the harsh elements to begin working around-the-clock to keep the gas flowing to our customers.”
This isn’t new territory for our employees. During the polar vortex of 2019, which brought extreme windchill and subzero temperatures, we delivered more than 4.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas to its 2.2 million customers throughout northern Illinois. That is the single largest delivery of natural gas in Southern Company Gas’ history — surpassing previous records set during the 2014 polar vortex.
“I am so unbelievably proud of our employees who brave these harsh conditions to ensure our customers are safe and warm,” said Kim Greene, president and CEO of Southern Company Gas. “They are prepared well in advance, proactively deploying staffing and resources to critical locations ahead of the storm. And they are committed to safely serving customers as swiftly as possible in these challenging conditions. They’re always ready to serve.”
With significant extreme weather experience under its belt, Nicor Gas knows how to be prepared.
The safety of its crews during the cold is always a top priority, so measures are taken to ensure they are not alone, especially during night shifts. Crew teams watch out for each other, keeping vehicles running and warm, checking in on each other and keeping the lines of communication open with dispatch. Crews are also equipped with industry-leading safety training, tools and resources needed to effectively respond to the most severe cold weather situations.
“Our people always come through,” said German Guataquira, systems operations director.
Another consideration is affordable natural gas supply. Nicor Gas’ underground storage units help provide safe and reliable natural gas service to 2.2 million customers in northern Illinois. This storage allows the company to buy gas for customers when prices are lowest and store it for later use, ensuring a reliable supply and passing the savings to customers. Nicor Gas customers can have peace of mind knowing that their energy provider is always prepared to keep their homes warm, their businesses running and their families safe.
Much like the brave firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers serving across the nation, Nicor Gas’ frontline heroes are dispatched at any time of the day or night, despite the weather, to ensure continued delivery of clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy. When emergency situations occur, they work around‐the‐clock to monitor the infrastructure to ensure safe performance and reliability of natural gas – just like they do every day.
Our first priority was ensuring our customers and communities are safe and receive the service they need. Nicor Gas employees carefully inspected infrastructure and gas lines for any damage or leaks caused by uprooted trees, flooding or structural damage and cleared or marked gas lines so heavy mechanical equipment could safely operate during the clean-up process.
Those affected by the extreme weather and tornados on June 20 aren’t just customers to us – they’re our neighbors, families and friends. Nicor Gas is working closely with first responders, local officials and communities to help clear debris, ensure the safety of infrastructure and check on residents with care packages.
Along with the American Red Cross of Illinois and other community organizations, we are helping by providing thousands of PPE essentials to support in any way, so communities can start the recovery process safely.
Nicor Gas employees responded to the need for help in setting up a Red Cross shelter located at Thomas Jefferson Junior High School in Woodridge and is assisting by handing out safety glasses and gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, water and snacks to community members and responders.