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PG&E to Restore Pressure in Three Peninsula Gas Pipelines; Exhaustive Safety Checks Complete Normal operating pressure will help meet winter demand

Release Date: December 15, 2011
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) next week plans to restore three important natural gas pipelines on the San Francisco Peninsula to their normal operating pressure. PG&E has completed an exhaustive review of the pipelines' safety and received approval today for the restoration from the California Public Utilities Commission.

Restoring pressure will help provide PG&E's customers in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties with adequate gas service during the cold months ahead.

PG&E had reduced the pipelines' pressure by about 20 percent as a precaution shortly after the natural gas accident in San Bruno in September 2010. Since then, the utility has verified the safety of these pipelines through a robust program that includes pressure tests, records verification, and visual pipeline inspections.

"We've used a very thorough process to verify the integrity of these lines, and we're confident that they can be restored to deliver gas to our customers' homes and business safely and reliably," said Kirk Johnson, PG&E's vice president of gas transmission, maintenance, and construction. "These actions are all part of our mission to build a best-in-class gas operation, founded on integrity and accountability."

The three pipelines being restored are a 34-mile stretch from Milpitas to near San Francisco International Airport (Line 101) and two shorter cross-ties, a 1.5-mile section in Mountain View (Line 132A) and a 3.8-mile section in San Carlos and unincorporated San Mateo County (Line 147). In September, PG&E replaced and automated four valves along Line 101. The separate Line 132 will continue operating at 20 percent below its standard operating pressure.

Restoration is set to begin Monday, December 19, and finish the next day. PG&E will return the pressure to normal in a gradual, controlled manner with constant monitoring followed by thorough and ongoing leak surveys. Customers will not notice any effect on their gas service during this time nor should they smell natural gas. They can direct questions or concerns to PG&E's toll-free information line at 1-800-PGE-5000 or contact the utility via Twitter, at www.twitter.com/pge4me, or Facebook, at www.facebook.com/pacificgasandelectric.

As the weather grows colder, PG&E encourages its customers to use natural gas efficiently to help ensure supplies can match demand. The utility offers the following conservation tips:

  • When using your furnace, set your heating thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the day, health permitting. Set your thermostat to 55 degrees for the night, or when you will be away for more than four hours.
  • Close window coverings at night to help retain heat.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. About 90 percent of energy use in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
  • Close the damper when not using the fireplace and turn your heater(s) down when using your fireplace.
  • Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees or "low" (140 degrees or "medium" if you have a dishwasher without its own heating element).
  • Keep showers short.
  • Microwave small amounts of food instead of heating them up in the oven—you can reduce cooking energy by as much as 80 percent.
  • Add weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce drafts. Use caulking to seal around ducts, bypasses in plumbing openings, and any other openings in walls, floors and ceilings to reduce air leaks.

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 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.

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