Speier chairs meeting to discuss PG&E report

Congresswoman Jackie Speier met with other political leaders to discuss PG&E's pipeline assessment report.

October 26, 2010 6:51:14 PM PDT
A new report shows PG&E uncovered dozens of pipeline leaks in an inspection, ordered by the state, following last month's deadly San Bruno explosion and fire. Tuesday morning, Congresswoman Jackie Speier met with other political leaders in San Mateo County to discuss those findings.

PG&E released a report on what they're doing to prevent another San Bruno explosion and while the report shows the utility is working to make repairs, there are still some unanswered questions.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and 10 peninsula mayors and council people met with PG&E's vice president of gas engineering and operations. They had questions about PG&E's system-wide assessment, ordered by the CPUC and filed on Monday night.

"Probably the most disturbing thing to me is that the entire system in San Mateo County is unpiggable," Speier said.

Speier says PG&E cannot test San Mateo County pipe integrity with the most reliable system, called pigging, because of varying pipe sizes. She is upset that the report appears to dismiss the value of automatic or remotely controlled valves, relying on studies that show they wouldn't make much difference because the damage and injury happens in the first few seconds.

"I would certainly dispute that. I'm sure the mayor of San Bruno would dispute that and I'm sure the San Bruno fire chief would dispute that," Speier said.

PG&E says it is looking into putting automatic shut off valves at 300 locations.

"We discussed the initiative of numerous shut off valves on our system and we are exploring that right now," PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said.

The meeting also focused on where the 132 ruptured line continues three miles north through South San Francisco. That segment has been on and off the high risk list for the last four years. South San Francisco Councilman Richard Garbarino says the scheduled 2013 replacement date is unacceptable.

"I want to know when they'll replace the line that runs through South San Francisco. It runs through virtually every residential community and right in front of S.SF High school," he said.

Speier and Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, asked PG&E to come back and explain the varying assessments.

"So we have four different evaluations on the same sectional pipe with different results each time," Hill said.

Speier, PG&E and the NTSB will hold a town hall forum this Friday.


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