Pacific Gas & Electric will perform upgrades on a controversial San Carlos pipeline later this year rather than waiting two years for its regularly scheduled work, according to the city manager.
“We’re pleased with that. It doesn’t go so far as solving our back and forth on what the appropriate pressure is but we’re really happy this is happening this year,” said City Manager Jeff Maltbie.
The work involves replacing a bend and associated piping on Line 147 located near Edmonds Road in Redwood City. The replacement will accommodate the tool used for internal inspections of Line 147’s entire length.
Until the work is complete and the in-line inspections performed, Maltbie said PG&E has agreed to the city’s request for extra monitoring of the line to make sure there are no leaks and everything is operating safely.
“We’re moving forward in a positive way at this point,” Maltbie said.
The city and PG&E are jointly sending a letter to customers alerting them to the upcoming work and inviting them to an April 16 community meeting. On Monday night, Maltbie will ask the City Council to approve the letter by Mayor Mark Olbert and Papia Gambelin, corporate affairs director of the central coast region for PG&E, for distribution.
Line 147 provides service to more than 650,000 customers in both San Carlos and along the Peninsula, according to the letter.
The upcoming inspection will also help determine the safest operating pressure which has been a point of contention between the city and PG&E since the pipeline was shut down, reopened at a lower level and eventually increased beyond what San Carlos wanted.
The California Public Utilities Commission in December unanimously agreed to let the line operate at the maximum operating pressure of 330 pounds per square inch gauge.
Concern over Line 147 began in October when city officials learned of November 2012 emails by a PG&E engineer questioning the safety of 84-year-old gas transmission Line 147 which runs parallel to Brittan Avenue. The former engineer suggested the city could be “another San Bruno situation” in reference to the Sept. 9, 2010, gas line explosion and fire that killed eight, injured dozens and destroyed 38 homes. The engineer also questioned if hydrotesting in 2011 exacerbated cracking.
The city declared a state of emergency which led to the line being temporarily taken out of service.
In December, the CPUC also ordered PG&E to pay $14.3 million for faulty record keeping related to the San Carlos gas pipeline.
The City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday, March 24 at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City. The community meeting is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 16 at Trinity Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 1106 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Carlos.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102