Pipeline 2020 Program
Note: Since the announcement of the Pipeline 2020 Program in October of 2010, the program has been incorporated and developed through other plans and work.
Pipeline 2020 is a new PG&E program to guide the utility's efforts to strengthen the natural gas transmission system and advance industry best practices over the coming decade. It has five major areas of focus:
- Modernize Critical Pipeline Infrastructure—PG&E will consult with regulators and engage industry experts on a multiyear modernization initiative to upgrade key gas transmission pipeline segments located in heavily populated and other critical areas. The company will work with an independent third-party expert to review and assess PG&E's long-term roadmap, including criteria for prioritizing critical pipeline segments. Among the goals will be to ensure that all upgraded lines can handle state-of-the-art inspections, including those using pigging technologies.
- Expand the Use of Automatic or Remotely Operated Shut-Off Valves—PG&E also proposes to consult with regulators and industry experts about expanding the use of automatic or remotely operated shut-off valves on segments of its gas transmission pipelines located in heavily populated areas. The valves will give PG&E operators the capability to shut off gas flows without having to dispatch crews. The company will also work with state and federal legislators to ensure industry-wide use of best available technologies and practices in this area.
- Spur Development of Next-Generation Inspection Technologies—To help catalyze technological advances that will improve pipeline safety nationally, PG&E will establish an independent, nonprofit entity dedicated to researching and developing next-generation pipeline inspection and diagnostic tools. At no cost to customers, PG&E will provide $10 million to launch this organization, which will work with other industry partners, leading institutions and researchers with the expertise to make significant advances in this area.
- Develop Industry-Leading Best Practices—PG&E will closely review its practices related to pipeline integrity, safety and training—as well as practices used elsewhere in the industry—in order to develop industry-leading standards of excellence in this area, including state-of-the-art risk assessment techniques.
- Enhance Public Safety Partnerships—Building on its extensive pipeline safety awareness and training programs, PG&E will work with local communities, public officials and first responders to forge model partnerships in support of pipeline safety. The company will provide detailed, customized information on pipeline locations and emergency response plans, as well as enhanced annual emergency response training. It will also step up outreach and education to reduce the incidence of third-party dig-ins on PG&E's pipelines—the leading threat to pipeline safety and integrity.
PG&E has a comprehensive inspection and monitoring program to ensure the safety of its natural gas transmission pipeline system.