PG&E releases list of 100 riskiest gas pipeline sections

Line closest to Pleasanton is south of Ruby Hill along Vallecitos Road

As part of PG&E's efforts to restore public trust in the company following the deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, PG&E officials released a list yesterday of the company's 100 riskiest sections of gas pipeline.

The line closest to Pleasanton that is in the "initiated" status is between Vasco Road and Sunol.

The pipeline runs roughly along the Vallecitos Road corridor and south of Ruby Hill.

Citing a potential for ground movement, PG&E noted that it would "evalutate the potential replacement of 7,000 feet of pipe … located on steep slopes from the North Livermore Valley to Vasco Road."

PG&E engineers use the list to plan future preventive maintenance and monitoring, PG&E president Christopher Johns said at a news conference in San Francisco.

Any problem that presents an immediate threat to public safety is addressed right away, Johns said. None of the pipeline sections on the list is considered an immediate threat, he said.

According to Johns, the pipeline that ruptured in San Bruno on Sept. 9, causing an explosion and fire that killed seven people, injured more than 50 others and destroyed 37 homes, was not on the list and the cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

According to Johns, PG&E operates 6,700 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines throughout central and northern California, which the company monitors 24 hours a day.

The system has been divided into 20,000 segments that are routinely inspected for potential problems.

The list, which is available on the company's Web site at, itemizes areas of concern, including sections of pipeline that are in future construction zones or spots subject to seismic activity, and sections that are potentially subject to corrosion.

The utility has set up a hot line PG&E customers can call to find out if their homes are within 500 feet of an underground pipeline or within 500 feet of one of the segments that are on the so-called Top 100 list. That number is (888) 743-7431.

Emily West contributed to this report.

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2 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:14 am

Those that have lived in states other than California know that PG&E is one of the worst electric and gas utilities in the country. Some of the reason for that is due to PG&E management, some the Calif PUC, some the state legislature, some to environmental extremists, and some to the stranglehold that unions have on California. PG&E rates for electricity are approximately three times what they are in many western states. And, as we know from the far too numerous power outages, and the recent pipeline explosion and the subsequent information disclosures, PG&E is incredibly negligent (perhaps criminally negligent) with maintenance. You think its bad now? Wait until people start plugging their electric cars into the grid. Absolutely nothing is being done to increase power generation capability and transmission capacity to supply those cars. Can you spell BLACKOUTS?

2 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Sep 22, 2010 at 8:47 am

Jerry where are you getting this information about PGE's expansion plans, of lack of?

2 people like this
Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

Hey Mike, I don't agree with Jerry with regard to his feelings about PG&E. But where did he mention PG&E has an expansion plan...I think you may have read that into his comments.

Julia from Alamo

2 people like this
Posted by Rae
a resident of Mohr Park
on Sep 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

According to what I see on the PG&E website, the gas transmission pipeline that runs between Pleasanton and Livermore has sections that are noted as numbers 2, 3, 4, 12, and 13 on the "Top 100" riskiest sections list.

Read more: "Top 100 Segments": Web Link

"Detail" Map of Pleasanton/Livermore sections: Web Link

According to the PW article, these sections are in the "initiated" stage . . . whatever that is. I could find nothing on the PG&E website that defined how "initiated" is defined in pipeline replacement planning process. I guess just by being placed on the “Top 100” riskiest sections list, they are in fact, “initiated”.

PG&E is in the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce "Circle of Influence". As a "Circle of Influence" member the Chamber promotes PG&E in our community through "recognition, visibility and opportunity". In return, PG&E helps fund Chamber activities, including, I'm sure, the Chamber's politically active BACPAC. You could even say that the Chamber BACPAC is the lobbying arm of PG&E in Pleasanton.

Chamber leadership, however, likes to describe the Pleasanton Chamber as a "business organization with a community focus." As a well-paid sponsor of PG&E, perhaps the Chamber could put a little bit of that touted "community focus" towards making sure that PG&E quickly moves past the "initiated" stage to make sure that Pleasanton (and Livermore) residents do not become the victims of a gas pipeline rupture like the one in San Bruno.

2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I think what is still required however is the report on what caused the ignition/explosion. A leak/rupture is a problem, but I'm more interested in the conditions that all had to exist in order for the explosion we saw. Replacing the pipeline may not be the most effective solution.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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