San Carlos gas pipeline makes PG&E list

A pipeline in San Carlos counts among the 100 highest-priority PG&E gas line repair projects in the state.

The issue of dangerous natural-gas lines came into the spotlight after the explosion and conflagration in San Bruno on Sept. 9, which killed seven people and incinerated dozens of homes.

The list of high-priority repair projects was released by PG&E on Monday after the California Public Utilities Commission ordered the company to do so. The San Francisco-based utility also released a hotline for residents to call if they want to find out if they live within 500 feet of a transmission line.

The information in the release is already being described as “lackluster” by some, including state Assemblyman Jerry Hill, who noted discrepancies between the list and information previously revealed about the region’s natural-gas infrastructure.

The line involved in the San Bruno explosion was not on the list released Monday. The closest pipeline is one that runs up Brittan Avenue in San Carlos, after branching from a pipeline under Old Country Road.

The utility apparently has concerns about the structural stability of about 105 feet of the pipeline, so it has scheduled an engineering review of the design materials of the pipeline. The section was listed as the 18th-highest priority for repair in the state on the utility’s list.

The concerns were news to the leaders of the Peninsula city.

Robert Weil, Public Works director for San Carlos, said he was aware that pipelines ran through his town, but had never been informed there were concerns about their stability.

“We’re meeting with PG&E tomorrow to get more information about the situation,” Weil said Monday. “The first action we want to take is become better informed, and we certainly want to look out for the interests of San Carlos residents and do everything possible to protect their safety.”

The list had been in high demand since its existence was initially reported, and last week CPUC leaders demanded PG&E turn it over.

Utility President Chris Johns downplayed the dangers of the items on the list, repeatedly stating that if any of the sites were considered hazardous or presenting any immediate danger, they would fix them immediately.

Instead, he said, the document was simply used as a planning tool to prioritize which projects should be completed first.

But the list didn’t satisfy Hill, D-San Mateo, who questioned its authenticity and accuracy. He said there were some apparent discrepancies, and that a 2007 document submitted to the CPUC in support of a rate hike described a section of the pipeline that runs through San Bruno as in the top-100 list of priorities. However, the project was not present on the Top 100 list presented to media Monday.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

 

Questions about pipelines?

?

How PG&E customers can find more info about natural-gas lines:

Phone: (888) 743-7431

On the Web: www.pge.com/myhome/customerservice/response/pipelineplanning/

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