SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today hosted a Gas Safety Fleet Expo at its service center in Sacramento for employees and the community to experience three of the new or redesigned vehicles in use across its service area. Each of the vehicles allows PG&E crews to better assess where improvements can be made to its gas pipeline system in order to ensure safe and reliable gas operations.
"We're giving our employees the tools they need to make our natural gas system safer. That is why we're using state-of-the-art Picarro leak detection technology, and getting our gas crews involved to redesign a truck that helps them do their jobs more effectively and efficiently," said Kevin Knapp, vice president, gas distribution maintenance and construction, PG&E. "Our gas crews are using some of the most well-equipped vehicles to help ensure safe gas operations across our service area. Our new mobile command vehicle increases our response capability and provides on-site field support like never before."
Mounted on PG&E vehicles, the Picarro Surveyor™ devices are approximately 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional leak detection equipment. This increased accuracy helps PG&E field crews quickly and efficiently identify where potential leaks may exist. The easy-to-use analyzer and cloud-based analytics send an alert to users and repair teams immediately upon detecting a leak. In October 2012, PG&E deployed an additional six vehicles with the Picarro Surveyor devices, bringing its total fleet to eight.
The first employee-designed Gas Crew Truck was delivered in October 2012 after hundreds of PG&E employees provided input used to develop the new vehicles. The redesigned truck features a host of improvements including: a more advanced braking system, a roll-up compartment door for safer access on busy streets, a loading device for heavy equipment and greater fuel economy. Tracy-based American Truck & Trailer Body Company, Inc. will supply PG&E with 57 new Gas Crew Trucks, with plans to produce an additional 55 to 60 over the next three years.
Additionally, PG&E's mobile command vehicle has been designed to handle large-scale events that require crews to work in teams for extended periods of time. The vehicles are built on a 40-foot bus chassis and can house a dozen people for days or weeks, if needed, to address any emergency needs. These units are some of the most technologically advanced vehicles in production and help PG&E gas crews provide the right response capability direct to the scene.
"Picarro Surveyor is designed to help gas crews quickly identify potential leaks with great accuracy and enhance the safety of PG&E's natural gas system," said Mike Woelk, CEO of Picarro. "Our technology is the first-of-its-kind used in the utility industry, and we applaud PG&E's commitment to having the safest natural gas distribution in North America and being the first to deploy Picarro's technology."
Picarro Surveyor, the redesigned Gas Crew Truck and the mobile command vehicle are just three of many vehicles PG&E is currently using to enhance the safety and reliability of its natural gas pipeline system. By deploying these and other technologies across its service area, PG&E is driving innovation – all in the name of safety.
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.
About Picarro Inc.
Picarro is the world's leading provider of stable isotope and gas concentration measurement systems for science and industry. Picarro's products serve a wide variety of applications, including: Earth sciences, air quality, greenhouse gas and fugitive emissions measurements, energy exploration and distribution, and supply chain integrity. Deployed on all seven continents in places as diverse as the Greenland Ice Cap, the Eiffel Tower, NASA aircraft, and Pacific Gas & Electric's natural gas leak detection vehicles, Picarro's solutions are unparalleled in their precision, ease of use, portability, and reliability. The company's products are all designed and manufactured at Picarro's Santa Clara, California headquarters and exported to countries worldwide. Picarro's technology is based on dozens of patents related to cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS). Investors include Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Focus Ventures, Greylock Partners, Mingxin China Growth Fund, and NTT Finance. For more information, please visit www.picarro.com.
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)