PG&E says its urban pipelines are now safe 

click to enlarge PG&E says it is done inspecting urban gas lines like the one that destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood in 2010. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images file photo
  • PG&E says it is done inspecting urban gas lines like the one that destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood in 2010.


Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has finished verifying the safe operating pressure of more than 2,000 miles of gas pipeline in densely populated areas of Northern and Central California, the company said in a report filed Tuesday with the California Public Utilities Commission.

The utility had promised the commission that it would complete the verifications by January 31.

In a news release, PG&E touted what it called “the enormity and precision of the undertaking,” which involved gathering more than 2.5 million records into a central database and digging in 40 places to reach pipelines that had to be tested manually. The utility said more than 300 people were assigned to the task.

In its report to the commission, PG&E said it would turn its attention to its remaining gas pipelines, which run under rural areas. The utility said it would finish examining these lines by early 2013.

Last year, PG&E performed hydrostatic tests — using water-pressure to check pipe strength — on more than 160 miles of pipeline. The company also replaced some segments of pipeline and reduced the gas pressure on several lines.

The utility has been under scrutiny since 2010, when a gas line running under a San Bruno neighborhood exploded, killing eight people.

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

Gas pipelines at a glance

2,088 miles of pipeline in populated areas declared safe
4,660 miles of pipeline in rural areas that the utility must still check
70,000 square-mile service area
15 million customers
Source: PG&E

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