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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PG&E To Upgrade Old Pipeline System

PG&E Corp announced plans to upgrade its California pipeline system to boost safety today.  A key element will be the installation of hundreds of automatic shutoff valves and replacing manual valves.  Eight people killed in San Bruno, California when one of PG&E's natural-gas pipelines exploded on September 9. It took utility employees one hour and 46 minutes to navigate rush-hour traffic to reach manually controlled valves and shut off the flow of gas following that rupture.

The cost of upgrading pipelines likely would be passed on to consumers and could mean higher rates for the San Francisco company's roughly four million natural-gas customers. Regulators have no current estimate of the program's cost.

The explosion is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. (WSJ, 10/13/2010)

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