Christa Markgraff, vice president, operations, Nicor Gas (foreground), Aurelio Mendez, construction supervisor, Nicor Gas (middle) and Joe Wagner, public works superintendent, Village of Berkeley, Illinois (right) observe the installation of new residential natural gas pipelines, part of the Investing in Illinois infrastructure project.
Through an accelerated improvement initiative called Investing in Illinois, Nicor Gas is upgrading and modernizing its infrastructure, replacing hundreds of miles of aging natural gas pipeline and underground storage systems and refurbishing regulator stations that control natural gas pressure. Investing in Illinois is designed to help ensure the continued safe and reliable delivery of natural gas in the state of Illinois for years to come.
In 2013, the Illinois Natural Gas Consumer, Safety and Reliability Act established a mechanism for advancing the modernization of natural gas infrastructure in the state of Illinois. Not long thereafter, Nicor Gas–the largest natural gas distribution company in Illinois and a subsidiary of Southern Company Gas (formerly AGL Resources)—introduced Investing in Illinois, a multi-year, multi-million dollar construction initiative designed to accelerate the replacement of aging infrastructure. This important work continues today.
Safety, Reliability and Superior Customer Experience
The customers and communities served by Nicor Gas stand to benefit from enhanced safety and reliability. In addition, customers can expect an improved customer service experience with the anticipated reduction in the need for future repairs. Indoor gas meters are also being relocated outdoors, resulting in additional customer convenience.
“Essentially, what we do is replace aging cast iron and bare steel gas distribution pipelines with modern, state-of-the-art plastic pipes,” says Christa Markgraff, vice president, operations. “We’ve also replaced dozens of natural gas pressure regulating stations, as well as facilities that compress, withdraw and treat natural gas stored underground.”
Investing in Illinois is not only an investment in continued safety and reliability, but an investment in the regional economy. The program has served to strengthen the Illinois economy by creating new jobs, spurring economic development and increasing the demand for goods and services.
A stable, modern infrastructure is the foundation of a strong business environment in the state. Upgrading the natural gas system allows Nicor Gas to continue to meet the demands of current customers looking to expand their businesses, as well as potential customers looking to locate in the company’s service area.
Increased business activity has generated a higher demand for goods and services. For example, Nicor Gas is ordering more pipe, fittings and other materials to support the ongoing improvements. Bringing more work, more jobs and more income injects more spending back into the economy.
The equivalent distance of natural gas main placed into service through Investing in Illinois
invested in infrastructure placed into service since the inception of the program