Interview with Ian M. Skelton (Director, Natural Gas Vehicles, Business Development, AGL Resources)

   Ian M. Skelton, Director of Natural Gas Vehicles Business Development in AGL Resources, talked about the CNG Infrastructure Program designed by AGL to stimulate investment in CNG stations and fleet vehicles.


What is the plan for CNG filling stations developed by AGL Resources in Georgia?


   The AGL CNG Infrastructure Program is designed to stimulate investment in CNG stations and fleet vehicles by allowing AGL to install CNG equipment at fueling stations using proceeds from the Universal Service Fund.

   In November 2011, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved $11.57 million in CNG fueling infrastructure for 8 - 10 stations over the next five years, depending on the size of each station.


How was the idea born for developing this program for natural gas vehicles?


   The program is the product of months of market studies and public hearings followed by action by the General Assembly. After filing a conceptual plan last September at the urging of PSC Commissioner Doug Everett, two public hearings were held in November 2010 and January 2011 to refine the plan. In March, the Georgia General Assembly gave express authorization for Universal Service Funds (USF) to be utilized for natural gas fueling infrastructure for motor vehicles. Governor Deal signed the bill into law in April.


Where will the new CNG stations be located? Are thestations going to be for public or private use?


   The new CNG stations  be located anywhere on AGL’s distribution system, most likely inmetro Atlanta and along major transportation corridors in the state. The actual locations will be driven by the  commercial fleet customers who will anchor the stations.

   Most of the stations will be publicly accessible and allow any CNG customer to obtain refueling services using fleet management cards or standard credit cards. The program also provides for a few Limited Access Stations which could be developed to serve municipal, county, state or other governmental fleets where no public access is practical.


How can applicants qualify for the program?


   In order to qualify, applicants must demonstrate they can secure the real estate for the station, develop the site consistent with local zoning, pay for the installation of the dispenser(s) and any site development costs, and hold contracts with fleet customers to utilize what amounts to at least 20 percent of a proposed station's capacity.

   Contracts between AGL and potential CNG retailers will occur following a request for proposal (RFP) process that begins March 1, 2012. The RFP application deadline will be mid-April and contracts would be signed by  third quarter of 2012 with construction proceeding later in the year.


What will be the role of AGL Resources in this CNG plan?


   AGL will own and maintain the CNG equipment connected to its traditional natural gas distribution system and provide utility services to station owners. Transportation delivery charges and actual costs associated with operations and maintenance will be collected from the retailers. Revenue collected from a separate equipment utilization fee will be placed in a reserve account to fund eventual replacement/upgrades of the CNG Equipment, offset a portion of the cost of leasing home refueling appliances, and constructing future additional CNG facilities.


What is the growth potential in Georgia for natural gas vehicles?

   Georgia is positioned geographically to be the hub for natural gas vehicle expansion in the Southeast, and this new program will enable AGL to partner with third parties to meet the region’s growing demand for CNG.  Fleet owners and vehicle manufacturers recognize the significant price advantage natural gas holds over petroleum and AGL is ready to provide fueling infrastructure as these Georgia-based commercial and governmental fleets switch to CNG.