San Bruno Accident and PG&E’s Ongoing Response

Changes to Our Operational Practices

The accident in San Bruno brought into clear focus the need to make major changes to our gas operations and pipeline system. Investigations by the NTSB and the CPUC’s Independent Review Panel have pointed to significant operational issues, such as the lack of a centralized database with comprehensive information on our pipeline system.

Since the fall of 2010, PG&E has taken a number of steps to address these issues and strengthen the safety of our gas system. Many of these steps have been taken under directives from the CPUC and NTSB, while others have been made proactively by PG&E.

  1. We completed a massive re-inspection of our entire gas transmission system.
  2. We reduced the pressure by 20 percent over 190 miles of pipeline—adding an additional margin of operating safety for these pipelines to the substantial margin already in place—including pipelines of similar size and vintage as the San Bruno pipeline for which pressure testing has not been completed.
  3. We collected, scanned and indexed 1.25 million records related to pipeline pressure in 1,800 miles of our gas transmission pipelines, with the intent of validating the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) for these lines. PG&E presented to the Commission pressure tests or historical operating pressure for nearly 92 percent of pipeline segments installed before 1970.
  4. We announced an aggressive plan to hydro-test or replace approximately 150 miles of gas transmission pipe in densely populated areas before the end of 2011. The company plans to expand this program to additional pipeline segments in coming years.
  5. In an agreement with the CPUC’s Consumer Protection and Safety Division, we finalized a detailed schedule to validate through an engineering review the MAOP of all pipelines in high-consequence areas that haven’t previously been pressure-tested. PG&E expects to complete this work before the end of 2012.
  6. We’ve begun providing additional training for gas personnel on our standards for gas pipeline installation and maintenance documentation.
  7. We conducted a comprehensive gas transmission pipeline classification study, reviewing the population around every pipeline segment and adjusting the classification and corresponding operating pressure accordingly.

The impact of the San Bruno accident continues to be felt in San Bruno and at PG&E. The information presented here on the accident and our ongoing response is in no way meant to minimize the magnitude of the tragedy. Instead, it is to provide stakeholders with an update on the lessons we’ve learned and the steps we've taken to ensure a tragedy like the one in San Bruno never happens again.


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