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PG&E Verifies Strength Of 194 Miles Of Pipeline In 2012; Begins Construction Of State-Of-The-Art Gas Control Center

More Gas System Safety Work Planned for 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on its commitment to natural gas pipeline safety, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced that it validated the safe operating pressure of an additional 194 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline in 2012, through hydrostatic pressure testing and rigorous records validation.

These activities were completed in areas throughout Northern and Central California as part of PG&E's Pipeline Safety Enhancement Program (PSEP) and through regularly scheduled projects to verify the integrity of natural gas transmission lines—the large-diameter pipes that carry gas across long distances. Since PSEP projects launched in 2011, PG&E has successfully tested a total of 409 miles of gas transmission pipeline.

PG&E also started construction on a state-of-the-art gas control center at its new Gas Operations headquarters at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, Calif. The center will serve as a central location from which PG&E will monitor the safe and reliable operation of its 6,700 miles of transmission pipeline and 42,000 miles of smaller-diameter distribution mains. Completion of the gas control center is expected in Q2 2013.

"There is nothing more important than working to make our natural gas system safer in the communities we serve. We've made tremendous progress, but the work we've done is just the beginning," said Nick Stavropoulos, executive vice president of Gas Operations for PG&E. "Our goal is to operate the safest and most reliable natural gas system in the country."

Hydrostatic pressure testing is one of several important measures PG&E is taking to enhance the safety and strength of its natural gas system. Through the end of 2014, phase one of the PSEP program, the utility plans to pressure test or validate 783 miles of gas transmission pipeline, replace 185 miles of pipeline, automate more than 220 valves, and upgrade nearly 200 miles of pipeline to accommodate advanced in-line inspection tools known as "smart pigs."

"PSEP is a multi-year program that will enhance the safety and reliability of our natural gas transmission pipelines in communities throughout our service area. It will help us to assess our pipeline system and improve the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable natural gas to our customers," said Jesus Soto Jr., senior vice president of Gas Transmission Operations for PG&E.  

This year, in addition to validating the safe operating pressure of 194 miles of pipeline, PG&E has made significant progress in improving transmission pipeline safety and reliability including:   

  • Installing more than 34 miles of new transmission pipeline in urban areas.
  • Installing 37 automated valves in urban or active seismic fault crossing areas to allow for remote or automated shut-off in the event of a rupture. Fifty valves have been completed since the program commenced in 2011.   
  • Retrofitting 78 miles of pipeline to accommodate state-of-the-art in-line inspection tools known as "smart pigs."  

In 2013, the utility plans to further increase its pipeline safety actions, with plans to strength test more than 200 miles of pipeline, replace more than 60 miles of pipeline and automate 75 valves – all in addition to work completed to date.

To learn more about how PG&E conducts hydrostatic pressure testing and what to expect if testing is planned for your area, visit www.pge.com/gas.  

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 (PG&E)

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