PG&E Gas Pipe Near San Bruno Shut Off

By Published On: October 10, 2013

State regulators prohibited Pacific Gas & Electric from reopening its temporarily closed natural gas transmission line running through the City of San Carlos Oct. 8. The California Public Utilities Commission order came on the heels of a court injunction directing the shutdown of this controversial four-mile stretch of pipe at the end of last week. “This investigation will result in public findings, required corrective action if necessary, and citations for any violation of law or regulation,” according to the commission. The commission and its Safety & Enforcement Division began investigating pipeline 147 in response to safety concerns raised by San Carlos officials last week. City officials in San Carlos pushed for the pipe closure in response to what they said was “contradictory and confusing” information about the safety of the line near Silicon Valley and slightly south of San Bruno. A gas line exploded in 2010 in San Bruno, killing eight people. PG&E said it welcomed the inspection. “It is important that this validation be completed on an expedited basis because Line 147 is even more critical to our system once colder weather comes our way,” Nick Stavropoulos, utility executive vice president, stated.   San Carlos urged PG&E to close off the line after receiving a November 2012 email in which a PG&E engineer warned “we are sitting on a San Bruno situation.” The engineer was referring to the catastrophic failure of a PG&E pipeline in San Bruno in 2010 that destroyed a neighborhood, killing eight people. The San Carlos line was said to be corroded and lacking consistent record keeping. The city sought an injunction in the San Mateo Superior Court when the utility kept the line open following the city’s plea. The court granted the injunction Oct. 4, forcing the pipeline to close two days later. “We believe PG&E has a responsibility to our community to put safety ahead of operational challenges, and should immediately suspend the use of line 147,” said San Carlos Mayor Bob Grassilli. As part of the directive to keep the pipe closed, commissioner Mike Florio also ordered PG&E to submit an updated Safety Certification for line 147 by Oct. 11.

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