PGW building operations center in Summerdale

From left: R.J. Agee, director of development for NorthPoint Development; incoming PGW CEO Seth Shapiro; Councilman Derek Green.
Soon-to-be PGW CEO Seth Shapiro
City Councilman Derek Green

Philadelphia Gas Works last week broke ground on its new North Operations Center, at 5000 Summerdale Ave.

At present, PGW has eight operations centers, with most of the activity taking place at 1800 N. 9th St. That center will stay open, as will one on Passyunk Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.

The other centers will close, with PGW saying it will improve the utility’s carbon footprint and possibly save $100 million over 25 years.

Missouri-based NorthPoint Development will perform the work, with a grand opening set for March 2023. Some 640 employees, mostly in the distribution and field services areas, will work at the 207,500-square-foot facility.

PGW said customer service will improve, since technicians will be working near Roosevelt Boulevard. The utility said modern, hands-on crew training will enhance safety and service in field operations and in customers’ homes and businesses.

On hand for the groundbreaking were PGW chief operating officer Seth Shapiro, who will be taking over for CEO Craig White on Dec. 1; City Councilman Derek Green, chairman of the Philadelphia Gas Commission; Heather Pierce, chief of staff to Councilwoman Cherelle Parker; and R. J. Agee, regional vice president for NorthPoint.

Energy-saving innovations include interior and exterior LED lighting fixtures, an energy recovery ventilation unit, thermal stratification fans for energy-efficient heating, water-saving plumbing fixtures, stormwater management measures and electric vehicle charging stations.

The new facility will also have two large training rooms – outfitted with home natural gas appliances, piping systems and valves – where PGW employees can simulate in-home customer service solutions and distribution system repairs.

The shovels used for the groundbreaking were donated to Jenkintown-based Heroic Gardens, which helps veterans experience the healing power of nature. ••