APGA member systems take great pride in their ability to deliver natural gas safely and efficiently to over 5 million customers in 37 states. APGA is pleased to announce the System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) program to honor those public natural gas systems that have achieved excellence in the operation of their natural gas utility.
SOAR honors natural gas distribution utilities that demonstrate commitment to excellence in four areas:
Applications will be reviewed by a team of experts from the APGA Operations & Safety Committee and will be awarded a rating based on a total cumulative score of points achieved from the program criteria in each of the four areas. Utilities can receive one of three SOAR recognition levels: Bronze (80-89% of possible points), Silver (90-96% of possible points), and Gold (97-100% of possible points). SOAR continues for three years, at which point the utility may apply again to maintain recognition. A utility may also resubmit at any point for consideration to be recognized at a higher level of SOAR. View all SOAR winners.
Attaining the APGA SOAR shows board members, community leaders, service providers and customers the utility's commitment to operational excellence.
The 2020 SOAR Program enrollment is now open and will close on February 28, 2020. Within 24 hours of completing the online form, you will be emailed the four criteria area URLs to complete the four criteria area surveys for SOAR recognition. There is a $250 non-refundable fee to apply for SOAR. This fee is used for SOAR Program related activities and materials. It also grants your system access to SOAR Virtual Roundtables, which are exclusive to SOAR participants. Please contact Erin Kurilla if you have any questions. To start your enrollment and pay the enrollment fee, please click the button below.Start Your SOAR Enrollment
Winners will be recognized at the APGA Annual Meeting in Chicago in July and receive a plaque signifying their commitment to operational excellence.
All applications must submit information and data that is current and representative of the natural gas distribution system over the past three years. All applications will be treated as confidential. Some of the SOAR criteria concern the existence of certain written policies and procedures. Rather than require submission of all these written policies and procedures, the SOAR review process will request that you submit a randomly selected sample of a few documents for review by the review team.
Click here to watch a video on the SOAR recognition program.
The APGA SOAR Task Group will hold a webinar to help answer your questions on the application survey on February 4 at 11 AM ET. Please go to www.apga.org/webinars to sign up.
Watch the 2019 webinar recording here.
When the SOAR survey asks if the utility has written policies and/or procedures on a specific subject (e.g., driver/vehicle safety) answer “yes” if there is a written document on that subject that applies to the workers of the gas utility. It doesn’t matter if the written policies or procedures apply to more than just the gas utility. It is acceptable if the procedures cover other operations of the utility such as electric, water, sewer, etc., as long as it also applies to the gas utility and addresses the subject. It is also acceptable if the written policy or procedure applies to a larger entity such as the town, city, county, municipality, etc,. that operates the gas utility. It can also be part of a larger document, such as driving safety covered as one of many topics in a safety manual. If it is in writing, addresses the subject and applies to the gas utility then it satisfies the SOAR criteria.
If, however, the larger entity or another utility operated in conjunction with the gas utility has a written policy but that policy does not apply to the gas utility, this does not satisfy the SOAR criteria. For example, if the city had a driver safety policy but that policy was not applied to the gas utility drivers then it would not satisfy the SOAR criteria.
APGA recognizes that there may be activities that demonstrate a utility’s commitment to each of the four areas that may not be adequately described in answering the questions in the surveys. The last question in each survey is an open-ended question where you can describe any activities that support the four areas.
Click here to view a PDF version of the 2020 questions and scoring rubric.
SOAR applicants are awarded a rating based on a total cumulative score of points achieved from the program criteria in system integrity, system improvement, employee safety, and workforce development areas.
If you have any questions about SOAR, please contact Erin Kurilla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DISCLAIMER: The SOAR award is recognition by a gas system’s peer companies of its demonstrated commitment to excellence in the areas of system integrity, system improvements, employee safety, and workforce development. The SOAR award is neither a certification nor an undertaking by APGA regarding a given gas system’s ability to operate safely. APGA does not warrant that a gas utility that participates in the SOAR program or receives a SOAR award is immune from accidents related to its gas system, and APGA does not accept any liability related to such accidents, should they occur. APGA does believe that earning a SOAR award is an indication that the affected gas system is striving to operate safely and efficiently.
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