PG&E confirmed Sunday that it was shutting down a natural gas pipeline in San Carlos that city officials believe could be unsafe, a utility spokesman said this afternoon.
Crews were initiating a “proper, safe and effective” shutdown of Line 147 in response to a court order from a San Mateo County Superior Court judge and concerns from San Carlos city officials and residents, PG&E Greg Snapper said.
The court order was issued Friday after an alleged set of internal PG&E emails was sent to San Carlos officials on Thursday, casting doubt on the condition of the 84-year-old line that runs 3.8 miles beneath Brittan Avenue.
PG&E officials this weekend said that Line 147 would be shut down “out of an abundance of caution,” but assured that the pipeline would not have been in operation if it was thought to be unsafe.
“Pipeline 147 is safely operating in San Carlos,” Snapper said.
PG&E crews Sunday were gradually dropping pressure in the pipeline after evaluating the effects that a complete shutdown would have on connecting gas lines and regional customers, Snapper said.
“There are not going to be any gas impacts to our customers,” he said.
Shutdown work was expected to be completed today, when PG&E would continue talking to the city to decide what comes next, he said.
Officials from San Carlos were not immediately available to comment yesterday.
San Carlos city officials developed concerns over the pipe’s safety after PG&E representatives forwarded city officials a series of internal emails on Thursday that cast doubt on the condition of the line
after a leak repair.
In one of the emails, a PG&E engineer, whose name was redacted, expressed concerns to PG&E executives about the thinning of the pipe, which dates back to 1929.
“Are we sitting on a San Bruno situation?” the engineer wrote. “Is the pipe cracked and near failure? I don’t want to panic people but seems like we should consider this and probably move this pipe...for replacement.”
The San Carlos City Council declared a state of emergency on Friday and a San Mateo County judge granted an injunction ordering the line shut down late that day.
The 3.8-mile line runs the length of the city beneath Brittan Avenue, a residential street that carries thousands of residents to their homes and schools daily, according to city officials, Maltbie said.
Today, city officials plan to confer with the CPUC over the issue, Maltbie said.
The state commission is weighing whether to fine PG&E up to $2 billion for the 2010 explosion of one of its pipelines in San Bruno, which killed 8 people, injured more than 60 others and decimated 38 homes.