Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) officials on Tuesday voiced satisfaction with the performance of employees and infrastructure in the wake of Sunday's 6.0-magnitude earthquake in California’s Napa Valley (see Daily GPI, Aug. 25).
"All customers have been restored, however we still have employees in the area," a San Francisco-based spokesman told NGI Tuesday. About 60 homes and businesses in the area were red-tagged and considered too devastated for gas and power to be restored.
"Assigned utility representatives are working directly with those particular customers," he said. PG&E employees also continue to go door to door, offering to schedule courtesy gas safety checks.
In light of the harsh criticism that the utility has endured in the wake of the fatal September 2010 gas transmission pipeline rupture in San Bruno, CA (see Daily GPI, May 1), the spokesman emphasized that there were no breaks in either the combination utility’s distribution or transmission systems. The utility's new gas control system worked as it was designed to perform in an emergency situation.
"The new control center gave us real-time visibility into the [gas pipeline] system and the impacted areas, allowing us to prioritize the work and respond quickly," he said, adding that under the utility's now enhanced operations, resources and information are centralized, offering "an immediate proactive approach."
Several customers still had no gas service for safety reasons. "We will turn the gas back on after the customer works with a plumber to make repairs necessary," he said. "We've assigned a dedicated representatives to help each of these customers."
PG&E continued to use “mobile command vehicles" throughout the affected area that are outfitted to help gas crews provide response capability directly at the scene, and to coordinate with state and local safety agencies.
In addition, the utility has been deploying its leak detection technology, which officials previously characterized as more sensitive than traditional methods of checking for leaks (see Daily GPI, Dec. 3, 2012). "Any leaks identified were repaired immediately by onsite crews," the spokesperson said.
"We train for these kinds of events company wide so we are ready if and when natural disasters actually happen. Last May, we had an exercise where we simulated a similar response; we'll do it again this November."