SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced that it has automated its 100th valve through the Company's Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan (PSEP). The valve automation program, which began in August 2011, improves PG&E's ability to quickly shut off the flow of gas in the event of a significant change in pressure. Valves can be opened or closed from PG&E's newly designed Gas Control Center, instead of requiring an employee to travel to the site to manually open or close the valve.
"We're working every day toward our goal of becoming the safest, most reliable gas company in the nation," said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E's executive vice president of Gas Operations. "We have a lot more work ahead, but the progress we've made on installing automated valves – which allow us to stop the flow of gas immediately to reduce damage during an emergency and allow community firefighters and police to respond more quickly – is unmatched by any other utility in the country. I'm exceptionally proud of the crews working around-the-clock to make it happen."
PG&E's valve automation program is roughly at the halfway point in the Company's PSEP work plan, which sets a target of automating a total of 212 valves by December 31, 2014. The company's proposed plans are to eventually install approximately 670 valves, with the majority located in densely populated areas.
PG&E has also installed a total of 14 automatic shutoff valves where its transmission pipelines cross major fault lines. In these areas, the shutoff valves have been designed to close automatically when local sensors at the valve site detect a possible pipe rupture.PG&E has instituted new training programs and simulations for control center employees, emphasizing how to use electronic tools that provide a comprehensive view of pipeline conditions in real-time and how to evaluate the potential effects of isolating a pipeline segment.