- About Us
- Customer Service
- Gas Supply
- 2017 Construction Projects
Letter to our Shareholders
2016 was my tenth year with Corning Natural Gas. I believe we have made a lot of progress in rebuilding our company financially, growing our foot print, our customer base and our operational capabilities. We now are on solid financial ground and have superior physical infrastructure, systems and people. Focusing on more recent history, 2016 was a productive year. We now own/manage three utilities. Our original core utility, Corning Natural Gas is continuing to grow modestly, driven by a very aggressive systematic replacement program of older infrastructure. Leatherstocking Gas is growing robustly and Pike County Light and Power is increasing our size and profitability significantly. We also believe that Pike has major growth prospects in the future; however, they will have to wait until we fully staff and integrate the company into our operations. While 2016 saw us take critical steps to becoming a regional utility, 2017 should be a year we capitalize financially on our 2016 initiatives.
For a decade, our company has struggled with liquidity due to its aggressive program to replace older pipe. In five years, virtually all our older pipe will be gone and our capital requirements will be significantly reduced. In the interim, rising earnings and depreciation will improve our cash flow position. Our people honed their skills during a period of operational and financial stress. These skills are now being deployed to grow and succeed.
What does a small utility like Corning need to succeed? First, we need good, skilled people. While being small can be a detriment relative to bench strength. It can be an asset in that our focus is on our people and not processes. Also, given our size, our people can see how their efforts impacts overall corporate performances. There are no silos at Corning Natural Gas. Second, we need financial resources. Being small is certainly an impediment to access to competitively priced capital. But again, it can also be an advantage because small promotes the efficient use of limited capital. Finally, we need opportunities. Being small is a positive here. We can and are taking advantage of opportunities larger utilities won’t consider (doesn’t move the needle). We will succeed by looking for growth where no one else looks. While, we are unlikely to hit home runs; singles do add up to runs with patience. As we continue to grow, future success will be predicated on not losing focus or getting to big for our britches.
So, the bottom line for 2017 is to continue doing what we have been doing. Finish the rate case at Corning Natural Gas, continue to improve operations and liquidity, integrate Pike and grow Leatherstocking. Nothing radical, just hard work and focus.
Michael I. German
President & CEO