Local area gas provider, East Peace Gas Co-op, was selected by Gas Alberta to give back to their community earlier this month via the Gas Alberta Gives Back Program.
East Peace Gas Co-op manager Dale Dupuis says the program is vital in the current economy because many people are struggling to pay for their necessities. He said this year the team was able to select two different families to contribute funds to.
“We selected two families this year because funding was significant and our service area covers the Municipal District of Smoky River and Northern Sunrise County, we felt that we should help one member in each of the areas,” says Dupuis, adding it wasn’t easy to select only two families.
“Being from a small community we have a real strong relationship with all our members, they aren’t just a number. We chose the families based on the personal struggles they are facing and the effort they have shown in meeting their responsibilities to the community they live and work in.”
The families selected to receive funding have asked not to be named for confidentiality reasons, but the extra money will go a long way to helping pay for their utility services. Money given was also not disclosed.
Gas Alberta Incorporated representative Jasneet Kaur, says the company tries to support various community organizations, often contributing to 4H Alberta, ALS Society, and Kids with Cancer.
“Like our shareholders, we recognize the importance of giving back to communities throughout Alberta where our customers live and work,” says Kaur.
“Since the Gas Alberta Gives Back Program began in 2013, we have donated over $129,000 to communities across the province. This money was raised through personal donations from Gas Alberta staff, board of directors, Gas Alberta Energy, as well as matching contributions from Gas Alberta Inc.”
Dupuis explains each year a different utility company affiliated with Gas Alberta is chosen to allocate money within their community. He says the frequency of East Peace Gas Co-op being chosen is based on the amount of money that is collected through the program, but typically our community is chosen every three or four years.
“This program goes to show the support from our partners in the belief of what we do and stand for and that we are not just a company, but we are also members,” says Dupuis.
“This year we were fortunate to have received $3,000 from GAI to support local members,” he adds.
Kaur noted the local utility companies are always asked where funds should be donated, and the local staff can choose the organization, charities or individuals in the community who need the assistance.
“Part of our selection process is choosing people we feel confident will spend the funds locally,” explains Dupuis.
“Recipients have shown a strong desire to take ownership of financial responsibilities and to provide the best they can for their families. The amount is not significant enough to financially change the community, but it does show support and if we all help a little and shop locally it can only help strengthen the communities, we live in.”
Dupuis says he and his team know their membership on a personal level and that helps foster not only better business, but also a better relationship for everyone involved.
“We don’t get it right every time, but we strive to help when and where we can,” says Dupuis.
“Being smaller we can be more efficient and provide a timelier service. This program built by GAI to benefit our membership is a shining example that even our partners believe in what we are doing and want to be part of our community.”
Dupuis adds that consumers can make small changes to help reduce their gas consumption in their homes. He suggests doing things like setting back your thermostats, making sure that furnace filters are clean, considering the energy requirements of appliances when replacing them, increasing your insulation values where possible and the installation of quality windows as they are usually a very significant source of energy loss.
“We believe that the simplest way we can all participate in making things more affordable is to look for efficiencies within our own lives and businesses,” says Dupuis.
“If retail can find ways to adjust energy needs those savings could be passed on by reduced margins. Even small changes at home with energy saving heating systems and appliances will impact monthly cost. If we all do a little, we can all save a lot.”