PG&E regularly surveys our 70,000-square mile service area for gas leaks. This PG&E program resulted in a 99 percent reduction of minor leaks. We can identify and fix natural gas leaks to enhance public safety, help protect the environment and create jobs. PG&E uses various techniques to identify the leaks’ locations.
PG&E surveys our service area in Central and Northern California by land, in the air and even from a boat. The surveys help ensure that the pipelines are safe from all angles.
PG&E uses a device known as DP-IR to detect methane gas. The DP-IR is a highly advanced system that does not give a false alarm for other hydrocarbon gases. This device helps PG&E quickly locate and assess potential leaks. The DP-IR can work in a variety of weather conditions, due to its rugged design. There are 150 DP-IR units deployed in our service area. They allow PG&E to monitor and prioritize the pipelines that need repair.
Discover how PG&E improves gas-leak survey capability.
PG&E is adapting Mars Rover technology to find potential gas leaks. The laser-based technology was designed to find methane on Mars, a possible sign of life. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and PG&E are working together to adapt the technology. PG&E crews use a device with a tablet interface to identify and repair leaks. The device is now extremely sensitive towards methane. The tool is lightweight, easy to use and a thousand times more sensitive than traditional tools.
Learn more about the Mars Rover technology.
PG&E hires flight crews to fly 500 feet above four PG&E gas transmission pipelines. The crews include the helicopter pilot and a spotter. The spotter uses a GPS-enabled tablet to map new construction projects near pipelines. They also take photos of construction through a camera mounted on the helicopter.
On an average day, the crew identifies two or three immediate threats. The threats might include construction crews who are digging too close to pipelines. Other threats include improper excavation techniques. The crews inform PG&E about these threats. We then dispatch frontline supervisors to the site to prevent pipeline damage. PG&E uses this opportunity to teach the customer about safe digging practices.
Learn more about the flight crews.
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Discover how PG&E can detect underwater gas pipeline leaks from a boat.