Company Spotlight: Ste. Anne Natural Gas Co-op LTD.
Alberta is the heart and soul of oil and gas production in Canada. In the County of Lac Ste. Anne, Ste. Anne Natural Gas Co-op Ltd. (SANG) is the company that keeps the rural Alberta communities warm. In 1972, SANG Co-op was formed to take on the expansive task of heating rural Alberta farms, homes and businesses. Since then, SANG has become the largest natural gas distributor in rural Alberta, servicing over 6,700 members spanning over 3,350 square kilometres and maintaining an impressive 2,109 kilometres of natural gas pipelines.
Safety and sustainability are at the forefront of Ste. Anne Natural Gas Co-op’s company values
Safety is the number one priority in SANG’s organization, which is evident by their COR certification and strict policy of always having an on-site safety professional. Not only is SANG committed to safety, but it is their proactive nature that sets them apart from the crowd. The above and beyond commitment to safety not only mimics SANG’s exceptional commitment to service but more importantly it ensures that accidents are minimized, and their team can work to heat the county without feeling unsafe at work.
Valere Leifso, the Media and Community Coordinator of SANG, states that their company takes that proactive stance on safety with their practice of replacing gas pipes frequently to prevent mechanical issues rather than waiting for something catastrophic to happen before they take action.
“Now I would say that we are welcomed and loved by pretty much everyone in the community; with positivity, giving back, and goodwill”
SANG pushes the envelope in the energy industry. There are currently 82 gas co-ops in Alberta; SANG has been one of the most innovative with many of their new ideas and initiatives becoming standard best practices throughout the industry. Something this company is very proud of is their Human Resource and Health and Safety contracting. Valere explained that a lot of smaller companies do not have the means to employ HR or HSE personnel, so SANG will step in and contract some of their employees to help with these critical departments within the other companies.
For over a year, the staff at SANG has been working diligently with the experts at Reflex Gas Billing to develop a gas billing program from scratch. They are implementing this leading-edge billing and accounting software to position themselves for the future and serve their members more efficiently, “many of the other co-ops have jumped on board with this new program, and we cannot wait to see it roll out in the very near future” said Valere.
Community is Everything
Community is another critical focus of St. Anne Natural Gas and they recognize that without community, they would not be the company they are today. One way SANG puts their commitment to community into practice is by sponsoring or attending virtually every community event that is held in the county. For example, every year SANG hosts a Charity Golf event to raise funds for Kids with Cancer that has raised $50,000 over the past 5 years.
Challenges do present themselves every day, like in any company, but especially in the oil and gas industries challenges can come with added risk to personal safety. The energy and utility industry are also under constant public scrutiny, “the [energy] industry has a name for itself and it is difficult to adapt when the Carbon Tax is constantly [changed] by the government and the utility companies have to be the bad guy in the middle.”. Everyone at SANG had to work extremely hard to improve SANG’s image in the community. They poured everything they could into the community with events, resources, and time to demonstrate that they were more than simply an energy company. “Now I would say that we are welcomed and loved by pretty much everyone in the community; with positivity, giving back, and goodwill” said Valere. They have worked hard to employ the best people and have worked to adapt to their customer with flexible options., which has earned them trust and respect. Valere stated that customers enjoy SANG employees coming into their homes to hook up and provide services. SANG has also built “incredible relationships with the local peace officers, firefighters, parks and rec people, and municipal government officials” said Valere, which has further connected them to their communities.
Besides the safety focus and community orientation, the team at SANG makes it a fantastic place to work. The best part of working for this organization is that it feels like one big family. “We seem to have BBQs all together every other week,” Valere explained.
It just goes to show that good deeds and perseverance will bring good results. Ste. Anne Natural Gas Co-op is a great company that is driven by the impossible and fueled by the community. We are very fortunate to have them as part of the BIS community.