Beyond the Mains
As the industry celebrates the 75th anniversary of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), it also marks the 10th anniversary of one of NPGAs most significant legislative achievements-the passage of the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996, which authorized the creation of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).
Since then, NPGA and PERC have both undergone significant changes. Rather than recounting those changes or looking back to mark this anniversary, we are better served if we look ahead. And looking ahead, it is clear to see that the relationship between NPGA and PERC is critically important to the success of our industry.
Roles and Responsibilities
On the eve of its 75th anniversary, NPGA adopted a new strategic plan that calls for a partnership between NPGA, PERC, and the state organizations. Building a successful partnership challenges us to be clearer about what roles and responsibilities the organizations have individually and collectively.
Clearly, each organization has core responsibilities-that is, things they are expected to do on their own with their own resources. For instance, the industry expects PERC to use assessment dollars for consumer education. However, assessment dollars cannot legally be used for lobbying. That's one of the things the industry expects NPGA to do with its dues revenues.
Still, there are many activities where the two organizations can best serve the industry by working together. And working together is something NPGA and PERC have done from the outset. Until now, that work was done largely on a project-by-project basis. As partners, the two will plan. budget, and implement activities together on a program basis and move away from a piecemeal approach that leads some to see PERC as just a bank or NPGA as a contractor.
The industry benefits from having two national organizations, each with distinct roles and clear responsibilities. Having well-defined roles and responsibilities enables each organization to develop expertise and enables the industry to hold them accountable. Yet there is also considerable value in the two organizations working together to protect and promote the industry's interests.
Safety is an area where NPGA and PERC have collaborated literally from the beginning. PERCs very first grant was to NPGA to develop a training video. Since that 1998 project, the two have worked together on numerous safety training projects ranging from Propane Emergencies to the ongoing revision of the Certified Employee Training Program, which NPGA sold to PERC nearly five years ago.
Similarly, NPGA and PERC have worked together in the public affairs arena. The Capital Action Program (CAP) is an example of their collaboration in the public affairs arena that ultimately will pay big dividends.
CAP enables the staff of both groups, together with hundreds of industry leaders and volunteers who participate in Propane Days, to reach out to important audiences in Washington, D.C. and educate them about the industry and its vital role in the national energy market. Clearly, a greater appreciation on the part of Washington decision makers of propanes contribution to the economy will benefit the industry and propane consumers, as well as NPGA and PERC.
Looking ahead, there are clearly challenges that the industry will face, from the effects of warmer winter weather to improving appliance efficiency, just to name a few. As the industry has done over the last 75 years, it will rely on its industry leaders, working through its national, regional. and state organizations, to take up the challenge and to make the difference.
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