This year is the third year in which March 18 has been recognized as Gas Utility Workers’ Day, a time when communities such as ours give recognition to the employees who provide one of their most valuable assets—their natural gas utility. Safety is a vital aspect to natural gas distribution and the employees of DeKalb-Cherokee Gas (DC Gas) endeavor to make natural gas delivery as safe as possible.
On March 18, we celebrate the hard work of natural gas utility employees in addition to their accomplishments in our community. DC Gas customers recognize the need to access reliable, affordable, safe energy and depend on the service of the natural gas utility employees for that need. Their customers depend on natural gas to warm their homes, cook their meals, and heat their water. DC Gas General Manager, Jayson Higdon, and staff sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve their customers.
This year also marks the 65th anniversary of DC Gas providing an essential energy source to this area. Since 1953, DC Gas has delivered clean, safe and efficient natural gas to its customers in DeKalb, Cherokee and Etowah counties.
Their service area network continues to grow daily. In 2017 alone, over 25 miles of gas main were constructed, and over 200 new residential service connections were added to their system.
In 1953, the community leaders of Fort Payne, Collinsville, and Centre joined forces to establish the DeKalb-Cherokee Counties Gas District. With 0 customers, and $0 revenue, approximately $2 million was borrowed in 1953 to construct the initial DC Gas System in these three towns. That is the approximate equivalent of borrowing over $25 million today. In 1960-1961, two expansions were constructed; the first into Cedar Bluff from Centre, and the second onto Sand Mountain covering Crossville, Geraldine, Fyffe, Rainsville and Powell. After the 1960-1961 expansions were completed, DC Gas served approximately 3,000 customers, and the service area could not significantly expand due to capacity limitations from the pipeline.
In 1996, the leaders of DC Gas took on, at the time, one of the largest public works projects ever in Northeast Alabama. DC Gas borrowed over $15 million to construct and install an additional connection to the Southern Natural Pipeline. This project tripled the transportation capacity, and quickly doubled the number of customers that DC Gas was able to serve to approximately 6,000. Numerous expansions have occurred since that time, but on a significantly lesser scale. Today, DC Gas owns and operates approximately 750 miles of gas main and serves approximately 8,000 customers.
Through vision, innovation and commitment to the communities they serve, DC Gas was formed and constructed when investor-owned utilities did not consider DC Gas communities to be profitable for investment.
This innovation and commitment has continued to grow the network of the DC Gas service area to the surrounding communities. DC Gas is committed to providing their customers the peace of mind that safe, clean and reliable natural gas will continue to meet their energy needs for years to come.
The growth and continued success of DC Gas is built by you the customer, and by the 44 men and women that put on the DC Gas uniform each day. March 18 is an opportunity for DC Gas to say, “Thank You!” to their customers, and their employees. You should thank them too.
Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce appreciates DC Gas and their significance in our community. DC Gas partners with the community and works with us in hopes of continuing to grow Fort Payne. Thank you, DC Gas and staff, and Happy Gas Utility Workers’ Day!