Virginia Natural Gas was recently honored to be the recipient of two Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy) Awards from the Virginia Oil and Gas Association (VOGA). The awards include Local Distribution Company of the Year (LDC), the fifth time the energy company has received the honor.
Along with the LDC of the Year award, Virginia Natural Gas received the Community Outreach Award for their charitable giving and community involvement along with philanthropic efforts throughout the COVID pandemic across southeast Virginia.
“It’s an honor to receive this recognition again for being the top local distribution company in the state of Virginia,” said Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “We’re particularly proud of these awards because it centers around our commitment to enrich the lives of the customers we have the privilege to serve across Coastal Virginia. It’s also a testament to the hardworking men and women of VNG who make up this great company and have an unwavering commitment to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas energy for customers today and into the future.”
As LDC of the Year, Virginia Natural Gas was recognized for making measurable progress in reducing emissions through best practices, innovative technologies, and infrastructure investments. With a goal of net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050, VNG reduced its annual methane emissions by 45 percent, while growing its distribution by 26 percent. The company was also acknowledged by VOGA for implementing new technology such as innovative cross-compression gas distribution technology, which allows VNG to recover up to 99 percent of the natural gas removed from a pipeline during maintenance or inspection and recycle it back into the line for use by customers.
VNG was also commended for its investments in modernizing and enhancing its natural gas infrastructure to ensure customers’ energy needs are met safely and reliably now and well into the future. Through the Steps to Advance Virginia’s Energy (SAVE) program, Virginia Natural Gas has safely modernized more than 22,000 customer service lines and over 400 miles of older, aging pipe, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the distribution system by more than 27 percent. Along with infrastructure modernization, VNG was commended for sourcing 25 percent of its customers’ annual natural gas supply from select companies committed to lowering methane emissions without raising cost for customers.
As a result of their charitable giving and philanthropic efforts across their footprint, VNG also earned the Community Outreach award. During covid-19, Virginia Natural Gas worked with nonprofit and service organizations across the service territory to help lessen community and economic impacts of the pandemic. VNG conducted socially distanced drive-thru food drives to benefit the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, as well as the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, collecting more than 5,000 pounds of food, enough for nearly 10,000 meals for those in need.
VNG was also recognized for making a positive impact by helping families connect to available energy assistance funding since many families and businesses faced financial hardships due to the pandemic. Through a special grant, the Coronavirus Relief Fund, VNG was able to connect nearly 19,000 residential and business customers to $4.4 million in financial assistance to help pay down, or in some cases pay off, their past-due energy bills.
Through philanthropic efforts, VNG was recognized for donating more than $1.2 million to more than 45 local nonprofits throughout Coastal Virginia. Along with its parent company, Southern Company, VNG donated $720,000 to two local Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Norfolk State University and Hampton University, to support investments in critical information technology infrastructure upgrades to enhance remote learning.
The Virginia Department of Energy’s Division of Gas and Oil and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association created the annual award program to recognize outstanding achievements by members of the gas and oil industry in Virginia.