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July 30 – A statewide network of compressed natural gas fueling stations has kicked off with the opening of a station in Valdosta.

Georgia Public Service Commission member Doug Everett of Brunswick said this program has spurred other companies to enter the CNG fueling station market in Georgia with plans to construct stations along the state's Interstate corridors.

“With the opening of the first of five planned stations, this is one more step in making CNG a viable alternative fuel option,” Everett said. “With the abundance of domestic natural gas supplies this type of service can be a major factor in moving our country away from dependence on foreign energy sources.”

Operation  of the first commercial CNG fueling station was initiated under the Commission-approved Atlanta Gas Light Company CNG Program. Langdale Fuel will operate the station in Valdosta and will offer public access to CNG vehicles by adding two fueling islands at the existing station at 1628 James P. Rogers Drive.

In June 2009, Commissioner Everett called on Atlanta Gas Light to develop a proposal to stimulate CNG Station development in Georgia, and to bring the national focus on the emerging natural gas vehicle market to the state. Everett’s call was to solve the “chicken or the egg” problem that challenges first movers in any new market —that is, to find a way to have investment decisions by fleet owners, station owners and vehicle manufacturers to occur simultaneously based on market certainty.

The proposal approved by the Commission in October 2011 relies heavily on private investment in new vehicles and in new fueling station infrastructure. Atlanta Gas Light’s residential and commercial customers will not be asked to underwrite the initial investment or operational costs. Atlanta Gas Light will award up to $11.57 million from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to qualified station owners that meet minimum financial and contractual obligations; including having approximately 20 percent of the station’s CNG fueling capacity under contract to one or more fleet customers for a five year period.

Atlanta Gas Light will install, own and maintain CNG equipment used to compress and store natural gas for quick-fill fueling applications, and will charge a regulated rate to the station owners for this service. Station owners will not be regulated by the Commission, and prices paid by consumers will be set by market forces. Georgia currently offers a $2,500 per vehicle income tax credit to individuals and companies that invest in alternative fuel vehicles.

Commissioner Everett is currently in his second six-year term on the Commission. He was the first Republican from southwest Georgia elected to the Commission in November 2002. He also served in the State Legislature and in Albany, GA, city government.

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