Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) recently launched a supplemental safety program in the Bay Area: daily helicopter flights with trained spotters flying 500 feet above 106 miles of gas transmission pipeline from San Francisco to San Jose. PG&E is completing a special program of helicopter flyovers in the San Franciscoarea as part of the company’s focus on preventing gas dig-ins throughout the service territory.
“These efforts, combined with our highly successful ‘Call Before You Dig’ program, will help ensure local excavation projects are conducted responsibly so customers continue receiving safe and reliable gas service,” said John Higgins, senior director of field operations at PG&E.
Crews are using specialized GPS technologies and mapping data to photograph and flag sites that might pose a risk of construction personnel inadvertently digging into neighborhood pipelines. Once the crew lands and analyzes the photographs, PG&E personnel are sent to construction sites to verify that all the rules are being followed. One of those critical steps includescalling 8-1-1, the nationwide number to report digging projects prior to any excavation project, so all underground utility lines can be marked free of charge. These daily patrols are in addition to PG&E’s existing monthly patrols over all 6,750 miles of the company’s gas transmission pipelines.
Just earlier this month, a PG&E helicopter patrol was able to immediately halt an excavator that was digging dangerously close to an underground pipeline. By requiring safety crews to review data and dispatch personnel upon landing, PG&E will be able to quickly address potential issues and avoid costly mistakes.
For more information on our leak surveys and how PG&E is investing more than $2 billion in shareholder dollars to create the nation’s safest and most reliable gas system, please visit www.pge.com/seeourprogress.
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 more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California – www.pgecurrents.com.
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