PG&E Plans Replacing Gas Pipes

By Published On: July 6, 2012

Pacific Gas & Electric is beefing up its troubled gas pipeline system to comply with state and federal mandates. According to its Gas Safety Plan filed June 29 with the California Public Utilities Commission, at the top of the list are replacing huge swaths of problematic lines, improving its monitoring and alarm systems, increasing recordings of pressure data, and creating a new gas distribution control center. “[T]here has been a movement at PG&E to concentrate on the basics of providing safe and reliable natural gas and electric service to 15 million northern and central Californians,” the utility stated. PG&E noted earlier this year it created a geographically-based alarm system “to facilitate appropriate operator action.” In September 2010 after the gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, operators struggled to shut off the gas flowing from the burst pipe that fed flames which destroyed more than three dozen homes and killed eight. The utility reported at the end of last week that it hired more than 500 people to record pressure data. It also replaced 2,161 miles of distribution main lines, and more than 500 miles of distribution pipe in seismically active areas. Its ongoing safety plan, according to the report, includes: -Installing about 900 monitoring and control devices in 2012 and 2013; -Increasing leak surveys; -Replacing 41 miles of distribution pipes in regions prone to earthquakes; -Replacing 900 miles of the total 1,910 miles of pre-1940 steel pipe and 1,500 miles of Aldyl A pipe over 15 years; and -Continuing to install new pressure transmitters with remote control capability. PG&E’s gas distribution system covers an area of 58,000 square miles, with 826 hydraulically independent systems.

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