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PG&E Gas System Withstands 6.0 Napa Earthquake

The energy restoration effort for the earthquake-scarred area in and around Napa, CA, was relatively smooth for retail natural gas and electric customers in the wine country north of San Francisco, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) reported Monday. Overall, the utility infrastructure withstood the 6.0-magnitude quake with no significant damage.

Within a little more than 24 hours of the 3:40 a.m. trembler Sunday, PG&E reported no problems with its gas transmission and distribution pipeline systems, and only a relative handful of customers still needing to be restored on Monday.

A San Francisco-based utility spokesperson said late Monday morning that service had been restored to all 70,000 electric customers who lost power in the quake, but there were still 20 earthquake-related gas-distribution outages. "PG&E is ready to restore these customers as soon as the impacted properties are ready to safely receive gas service," he said.

The spokesperson said that the combination utility proactively lowered the operating pressure of its Sonoma/Napa natural gas transmission pipeline system, and conducted two patrols of the system to ensure its integrity.

PG&E also continued "extensive sweeps" of the impacted communities using state-of-the-art leak detection vehicles to look for distribution line leaks. "Any leaks that are identified will be repaired immediately by onsite crews," he said.

"Beginning [Monday], PG&E will also conduct courtesy gas safety checks at homes and businesses throughout the impacted area. These checks will continue over the next several days as requested by customers."

PG&E also continued to conduct gas safety surveys of its pipeline systems in the areas impacted by the Napa earthquake.

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