PG&E Provides New Reports on Safety and Operation of its Natural Gas Transmission System

Oct 25, 2010, 19:57 ET from Pacific Gas and Electric Company

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today provided the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the public with a set of updates on the current and future status of its natural gas transmission system, including initial results of an accelerated survey of its transmission pipelines and a preliminary assessment of upgrading several hundred gas valves to enhance public safety in case of an accidental gas release.

"In the wake of the tragic San Bruno accident, and in close consultation with regulators, PG&E is working intensely to re-examine our transmission pipeline system and operational practices to meet our commitment to safe, reliable service," said Kirk Johnson, Vice President of Gas Engineering & Operations at PG&E. "Today's filing shows how much progress we have made in a short period of time, but also points to the significant work still ahead of us."

Launching an important phase of its new Pipeline 2020 program, PG&E reported that it is evaluating approximately 300 locations on its gas transmission system that appear to be the most suitable for replacing manually operated valves with automatically or remotely controlled valves, which permit faster shut-off of natural gas in case of an accident. PG&E has engaged an engineering firm to review and refine the analysis. When the review is complete, PG&E will file a detailed valve upgrade plan with the CPUC.

PG&E also announced that careful instrument surveys of nearly 16 miles of transmission pipeline in the San Bruno area, using three different tools, found no integrity issues requiring immediate repair.

In addition, PG&E today reported initial results of an accelerated survey of its gas transmission system, using state-of-the-art aerial laser detection technology as well as traditional ground patrols. In the first phase of the survey, PG&E focused on pipelines located in more populated areas. Crews found and dealt with four leaks on main transmission pipelines, and 34 leaks on other facilities, which required immediate repair. PG&E expects to complete the entire survey by mid-December.

PG&E also reported on steps it is taking to eliminate or minimize the potential for curtailments of natural gas supplies this winter to certain customers served by its Peninsula gas transmission lines. For example, PG&E is working with appropriate stakeholders on a plan to reduce gas deliveries to the Potrero Power Plant Unit 3 in San Francisco, without impacting electricity service in the city. PG&E has begun working with a number of industrial and commercial customers to help them plan for the possibility of limited curtailments.

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

SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company