/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) today unanimously approved a new economic development and environmental program developed by Atlanta Gas Light, a subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE:AGL) , to encourage smart new investment in Georgia. The new program, called "Georgia Sustainable Environmental Economic Development program," or Georgia SEED, is designed to attract and retain jobs, support projects to reduce carbon emissions and encourage new investment in Georgia.
"Georgia's economy is suffering like our national economy," said Suzanne Sitherwood, president, Atlanta Gas Light. "The best way to get our economy moving is to make investments that attract jobs or keep jobs here. Georgia SEED is a new tool in the state's economic development toolbox that allows Atlanta Gas Light to invest in Georgia's future at no risk to our customers."
Under the new program, Atlanta Gas Light will contract with existing business customers or new customers that may be considering expanding into Georgia. AGL shall have the option to invest its capital to help customers finance line extensions, new natural gas equipment and equipment installations.
"Smart investing can generate new business and improve the state's air quality at the same time," said Hank Linginfelter, executive vice president, AGL Resources. "Installing new equipment that improves a business's efficiency or allows it to comply with new carbon emission laws may allow the business to better control its energy costs. Georgia SEED could make the difference in whether a struggling business remains open."
AGL and the Georgia PSC will work together to determine how Georgia SEED, which is a five-year, experimental program, should be designed to best meet the needs of Georgia business. Although AGL has long participated in state and local economic development projects, Georgia SEED is a new approach that allows the utility to expand its ability to meet customer needs while collaborating with the Georgia PSC to promote jobs and smart environmental investments.
Georgia SEED offers three potential avenues for contracts: providing customers with the benefit of a new utility service extension to plant sites; offering financing for the purchase and installation of new higher-efficiency gas equipment, such as engines, boilers, fleet vehicles, refueling stations and gas-fired air conditioning equipment; and discounted utility rates to help lower overall energy costs.
Georgia SEED benefits are available to customers who can establish significant economic and environmental benefits for the state. Customers will have little or no up-front costs and can pay back the investment over the life of the project.
"We are committed to improving the business climate of the state while improving the state's environment," said Sitherwood. "Responsible growth can achieve both goals simultaneously."
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