Coal Users’ Group Updates Name and Mission to Address Current Industry Challenges

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The PRB Coal Users' Group is changing its name to the American Coal Users' Group. The Board of Directors recognizes that times are changing for the coal industry, and the organization needs to change as well to be more inclusive with its membership, and spread the lessons beyond sub-bituminous coal users.


"The American Coal Users’ group is expanding its strong commitment to providing an educational environment by broadening our focus to include users of all ranks of coal."

The coal industry is in transition. New technologies are being designed to advance the safe, efficient, and economic use of coal.

As times change for coal, the PRB Coal Users’ Group recognizes the need to change as well. Our Board of Directors has discussed the future of the industry, and we realize it is time to be more inclusive with our membership, and spread the lessons our group has learned beyond sub-bituminous coal users.

We are taking a new direction, and with that in mind, we have a new name, a new mission, and a new purpose for our group.

The PRB Coal Users’ Group is now the American Coal Users’ Group (ACUG), to better represent our membership. Our group will focus on sharing better practices promoting the safe, efficient, and economic use of coal for producers, ports, terminals, generators, transporters, and industrial users.

“This is the last group in America that has the expertise to ensure safe and reliable operations of coal plants,” said Johnny Howze III, Vice President Supply Chain Management - Gas, Generation and Shared Services for Southern Company. “The change in focus needed to happen given the market challenges of today. Coal in our energy mix is declining, but not gone yet. These facilities are more complicated than ever before to operate. We all should learn about cycling operations, better maintenance practices and cultural opportunities together instead of approaching these issues fragmented.”

The ACUG will provide value to its members by promoting resources that encourage safety, reliability, education, innovation, awareness, and a sense of community as it relates to the use of coal. These efforts are led by a team of experts from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, a group dedicated to expanding upon the successes of the PRB Coal Users’ Group over the past 20-plus years.

“No industry can elude adversity forever and industrial users of coal are no exception,” said Jon Rice, Director – Luminant’s Martin Lake Complex in Texas. “For that reason, the American Coal Users’ group is expanding its strong commitment to providing an educational environment by broadening our focus to include users of all ranks of coal. With over 20 continuous years of hands-on experience and an impeccable track record of hosting conferences with exceptional content relevant to current business needs, the ACUG will ensure the 2020 Symposium is second to none. The Board of Directors is more excited and determined than ever to exceed the expectations of all conference participants by offering engaging discussions targeted at topics including safety, reliability, innovation, and leadership. Our industry is ever-changing and the ACUG is committed to providing members the tools needed to effectively embrace and manage the changes.”

The ACUG will accomplish its new mission in several ways. It will begin with a symposium that will celebrate our more than 20 years of service to the coal industry, as we encourage more face-to-face sharing of better practices and lessons learned. Educational sessions and open forums will be the focus of our annual meeting, scheduled for April 14-17, 2020, in Denver, Colorado. We look forward to our membership coming together to celebrate our successes and learn more about the future of the American coal industry.

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Ellen Nyboer

Kim Arellano
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