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PG&E Provides Top-to-Bottom Look At Natural Gas Safety Actions

Utility Files Roadmap to Becoming an Industry Leader in Safety, Reliability

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A 45-page report that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will file today with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) provides a comprehensive overview of what the company is doing to make sure its natural gas pipelines are safe and reliable.

The document, called the Gas Safety Plan, highlights current and committed work and connects the dots among all of PG&E's efforts to ensure safe and reliable operations of its gas system. It addresses PG&E's culture, risk management, training, compliance, records, pipeline maintenance and modernization, emergency planning, and how the utility incorporates and measures safety in all of these areas.

"What we filed today is PG&E's roadmap to becoming one of the nation's safest gas utilities," said Nick Stavropoulos, the utility's executive vice president of gas operations. "We can hand this document to Commissioners with confidence and say that it represents input from all levels of gas employees as well as direction from the National Transportation Safety Board, outside experts, industry associations, and other regulators."

The plan stems from Senate Bill 705, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2011. California's gas corporations are required to provide periodic updates on their gas system safety actions.

Stavropoulos called attention to several sections:

  • Culture: The report speaks to PG&E's renewed vow of creating a "safety first" culture in which public and employee safety is the highest priority and employees feel empowered to share and act on safety concerns. "Every single one of us is responsible for safety," said Stavropoulos, who took the reins of PG&E's gas operations a year ago.
  • Training: PG&E's plan to ensure that its workforce is highly skilled and experienced includes building a technologically advanced training facility—targeted for completion in 2015—that provides hands-on learning experiences in "real world" scenarios.
  • Hiring: PG&E estimates that its gas organization will grow by approximately 1,400 people by the end of 2014 to support the focus on safety and compliance. Already the gas operations team has restructured, placing resources where they're needed most and establishing clear lines of accountability.
  • Emergency readiness: PG&E plans to move the gas transmission control center, distribution control center and dispatch center into one facility by mid-2013. Having all three functions side-by-side will result in a tightly coordinated front line for system awareness and emergency response, Stavropoulos said.

The plan recognizes that it will take time for PG&E to achieve its vision of becoming an industry leader in safety and reliability.

"But we've got our eye on that target, we're acting with urgency and we don't plan to let up," Stavropoulos said. "Becoming one of the nation's safest utilities isn't some pie-in-the-sky idea. The monumental progress we've made over the past two years shows we know how to get things done. Our Gas Safety Plan proves we know what more we need to do."

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.

SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company



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