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PG&E Welcomes Opportunity To Demonstrate Safety Of Line 147

Stocks in this article: PCG

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today said it welcomes the opportunity to continue its work with the California Public Utilities Commission and San Mateo County communities to validate that the company has completed, as represented, safety-related work on transmission Line 147.

"We want to be a good neighbor to San Mateo County communities. Customers in these communities can be assured that Line 147 is safe and we look forward to the opportunity to document all the work that has gone into maintaining and operating this line safely. 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. We don't want to be in a position of being unable to serve our customers because the pipeline is out of service," said Nick Stavropoulos, the executive vice president responsible for leading the PG&E gas organization since June 2011.

PG&E on Friday was ordered by a San Mateo Superior Court to cease service to Line 147 after the City of San Carlos questioned the pipe's safety.  The company complied with the order and today said it does not intend to return the line to service pending a review by the CPUC. However, the company today asked the Court to vacate the temporary injunction because it lacked the jurisdiction to make such a ruling.  In California, exclusive jurisdiction is given to the California Public Utilities Commission in order to avoid a patchwork of conflicting local standards and regulations.  

Background

What is Line 147 and where is it located? Line 147 consists of a 20-inch and 24-inch gas pipeline that runs for 3.8 miles between Highways 101 and 280 along Brittan Avenue in San Carlos ( PG&E Gas Transmission Pipelines). Line 147 plays an important role in PG&E's ability to safely and reliably serve more than 650,000 customers on the Peninsula. Line 147 is a cross-tie, connecting Line 101 on the eastern side of the Peninsula to Lines 109 and 132 that are centrally located on the Peninsula. Lines 101, 109 and 132 run south to north from Milpitas Terminal in Santa Clara County to PG&E's San Francisco Gas Load Center.

What measures has PG&E taken to ensure the safe operation of Line 147? Our work on Line 147 has included verifying records and pressurizing the line with high-pressure water to confirm its integrity. PG&E employees – on foot and in the air – have regularly checked this line, and all of PG&E's lines, for leaks.

Following the San Bruno accident in September 2010, PG&E lowered the operating pressure on many pipelines – including Line 147 – as an interim safety measure. In addition, after the San Bruno accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended hydrostatic testing for pipelines that were previously not subject to a pressure test – a process whereby water is put into the line at nearly double, if not more, the pressure that the gas typically reaches – be performed across all gas utilities in the nation.

In October of 2011, Line 147 was hydrostatically tested, and passed. Because of this successful pressure test, PG&E asked the CPUC to allow it to restore the line's operating pressure. This request included a large volume of documentation and evidence supporting this restoration of pressure.

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