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PG&E Verifies Safe Operating Pressures On All Urban Gas Pipelines Exhaustive Records Review Part of Renewed Commitment to Safety

Release Date: February 7, 2012
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has finished validating the safe operating pressures for all of its urban natural gas pipelines, the utility told the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today.

The massive engineering records review fulfills an agreement between PG&E and the CPUC's Consumer Protection and Safety Division. PG&E has now verified the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) for the 2,000-plus miles of transmission pipelines running through populated, or high-consequence, areas of Northern and Central California.

The project has involved gathering, scanning and uploading more than 2.5 million records into a central repository from about 60 PG&E offices throughout the utility's 70,000-square-mile service area. Crews have performed more than 40 digs in places where on-site verification of pipeline safety was necessary and have corrected any discrepancies. More than 300 personnel are working on the effort.

PG&E's partner in the project, Mustang Engineering, L.P., of Houston, Texas, noted the enormity and precision of the undertaking. "Mustang Engineering has supported similar pipeline data validation projects in the last year for other pipeline companies, but the level of detail required and schedule for this project is unprecedented," said David A. Carpenter, Vice President, Pipeline Business Development.

Last summer, PG&E completed this validation effort for the highest priority gas pipelines, satisfying a recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board and a CPUC mandate in the wake of the September 2010 San Bruno pipeline accident. Now, PG&E will focus on approximately 4,660 miles of pipelines in more-remote locations, with an estimated completion date of early 2013.

"Today is a key milestone for PG&E as we work to regain the public's trust," said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E's executive vice president of gas operations. "By verifying the operating pressures on pipelines near our customers' homes and businesses in populated areas, we're meeting our chief obligation: to make certain our systems are safe."

Stavropoulos added: "The team has spared no effort and, when required, has researched and excavated down to each pipeline component in question to verify the specifications and condition. Accurate and current records are the foundation for dependable pipeline management."

PG&E has made other aggressive moves to verify and improve the safety of its gas network over the past year and a half. The utility completed hydrostatic testing of more than 160 miles of pipelines in 2011, replaced pipeline segments as needed, and reduced the pressure on several of its lines as an additional margin of safety.

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/ and www.pgecurrents.com.

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