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Celebrating 50 Years!
For five decades, the gas co-op movement in rural Alberta has contributed significantly to Alberta’s economy, all while increasing the quality of life in rural communities and building the world’s largest rural natural gas distribution system. It’s an achievement we are proud of and one that we are celebrating in 2014 as our 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the Federation of Alberta Gas Co-ops Ltd.!
It’s a remarkable story of how a dream of a better life led to a country kitchen table meeting to agree on building the first gas co-op. It’s a story of average farmers doing whatever was necessary to build pipeline systems to bring modern heating to their homes, businesses, grain driers, and even to power their irrigation. It’s a story of neighbours helping neighbours to get pipelines across their lands so that the next person could enjoy the same lifestyle. It’s a story about Albertans.
That’s what makes it special: it has always been common folk who have been at the heart of the gas co-op movement. They started, they built it, and to this day through co-operative principles, it is the ordinary rural Albertan that continues to own this system. Every gas co-op is owned by, and serves, its members. Even our municipal utilities can point to being owned by the public-at-large.
Over the past 50 years, these people have invested a lot of time, effort, and many millions of dollars into building this system. What it did was help keep Alberta’s rural communities thriving and economically vibrant. It is what we continue to focus on as we grow to meet the new rural Albertans – whether they are opening land in remote areas or building acreages to enjoy the country lifestyle. It is what we will continue to focus on as we move into our next 50 years!
From humble beginnings, the Federation today, based in Sherwood Park, AB, is comprised of 81natural gas utilities throughout the province of Alberta. Combined, these utilities have over 119,000 members. In an average year, these members consume approximately 25 million gigajoules of natural gas. We are a not-for-profit umbrella organization governed by an eight-member board of directors, with the main function of providing to our Member gas utilities centralized services to help save costs by pooling the resources of our entire membership base.