In the midst of rising complaints from local government officials about the level of its information sharing in the wake of the Sept. 9 San Bruno transmission pipeline explosion, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) Monday announced it was making additional information accessible to customers via the Internet. In the southern half of the state, Sempra Energy's two gas utilities are taking similar steps.

The San Francisco-based combination utility will allow customers to access online information pinpointing gas transmission pipelines in close proximity to their homes. Maps will include pipeline segments that have been identified for engineering analysis and future work as part of the utility's ongoing preventive maintenance work. A link on the PG&E website (www.pge.com) will allow personalized pipeline information through a secure login. A similar link has been added for the PG&E pipeline information page (www.pge.com/pipelineplanning). Customers without internet access can contact a customer service representative via the telephone to get the same information.

Along with various speculation on the causes of the catastrophe that killed at least seven people, destroyed 37 homes and left many others damaged, local officials have alleged that the utility has not been forthcoming enough in its meetings or in follow-up with local fire officials (see Daily GPI, Oct. 4).

Sempra's utilities -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (SDG&E) -- as of last Friday had maps available on their websites depicting locations of transmission and high-pressure distribution pipelines in their systems. SoCalGas, the nation's largest gas distribution utility, operates just shy of 4,000 miles of high-pressure transmission pipelines, about 1,150 miles of which go through federally designated "high consequence areas."

A SoCalGas spokesperson said the utilities are beginning to notify all their customers who live within one-eighth of a mile of high-pressure transmission and distribution lines. In addition, the company said it plans to survey by the end of this month all of its transmission pipelines that have not been surveyed in the past six months.

SoCalGas and SDG&E have been providing electronic files with information on their transmission pipeline system to cities and other governmental agencies that request the information.

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