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Virginia Natural Gas expands 811 Education Program

Successful education program reached 10,000 students in Hampton Roads region

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – July 25, 2016 – Virginia Natural Gas has reached more than 10,000 elementary school students in Hampton Roads this year during the third rollout of its successful 811 Education Program.

Virginia Natural Gas first introduced the curriculum to help spread the word about the importance of underground damage prevention to 132 fourth-grade science classrooms in Norfolk Public Schools in 2014. The program’s success supported its expansion to Virginia Beach Public Schools in 2015 and the SPARK program in Newport News this year.

Through the program, students have learned about the importance of calling 811 before digging in their yards where underground utility lines, such as natural gas, electric, telecommunications and cable, may be present.  They also know what to do if they smell natural gas.

“We are proud to have tripled the size of the program during the last three years,” said Jim Kibler, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “We believe it is important to build public awareness of underground damage prevention and bring natural gas safety information to the future generation of homeowners and their parents.  We have collaborated with our school partners on a curriculum that teaches students a lifelong lesson that helps keep themselves, their families and their neighbors safe.”
Similar to fire safety and recycling awareness campaigns, the program focuses on educating and informing fourth graders on the presence of underground utility lines and the importance of calling 811 – the nationally recognized Call Before You Dig telephone number – and protecting those who dig near buried underground utilities. As part of the hands-on curriculum, students demonstrate their knowledge of calling 811 prior to starting any outdoor digging by completing a project, such as a poster or multimedia video.

The program has been recognized for leadership in underground damage prevention by the Virginia State Corporation Commission and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association.

For more information about natural gas safety education, visit the Safety Education for Kids website.

About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas is one of seven natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides natural gas service to 290,000 customers in southeast Virginia.  For more information, visit www.virginianaturalgas.com.

About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company.  Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.5 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in seven states and more than 1 million retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at www.southerncompanygas.com.

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Duane Bourne
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dbourne@aglresources.com