September 20, 2010 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced that it will be providing additional customer safety communications for its natural gas customers who are located near natural gas transmission facilities.
The announcement comes amid heightened awareness statewide of potential dangers posed by gas lines following the San Bruno, California explosion that damaged 80 homes, killed four residents and injured dozens more. That explosion occurred after a truck hit a gas line.
“We recognize that the recent incident in Northern California has prompted questions about the operations, location and safety procedures involving natural gas transmission pipelines,” said Michael R. Niggli, president and chief operating officer for SDG&E. “SDG&E has a very good natural gas safety record and a multi-faceted natural gas pipeline safety program focused on customer and community safety. Nevertheless we have decided to take additional steps to respond to customer concerns.”
In the near future, additional safety information will be provided to customers who are located in proximity of a natural gas transmission line. Generally, transmission lines are large diameter, high-pressure pipelines that carry natural gas into the local distribution system.
SDG&E regularly provides pipeline safety information to all customers since natural gas pipelines run through most of its service territory.
SDG&E also will place transmission pipeline information included in the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s on-line database on its website, www.sdge.com. The federal government has a website where the public can obtain information about the general location of transmission pipelines at: http://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/. However, it appears that the site has been experiencing difficulties due to a high volume of web traffic. To make it easier for its customers, SDG&E is duplicating the pipeline map information of its service territory on the company website.
SDG&E is providing electronic files of this transmission pipeline system data to cities and other governmental agencies that request the information. Local government officials and their emergency responders are also being briefed to update them on the operation of the natural gas pipeline system and ongoing pipeline safety program.
SDG&E also is accelerating surveys of all transmission pipelines in urban areas. Surveys of all these lines will be completed within two months.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.