Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has announced that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) acknowledged that the company has completed three additional safety recommendations of the 12 that were issued in response to the 2010 pipeline accident in San Bruno, CA. In total, PG&E has completed action on seven of the safety recommendations.
“Our employees continue to work hard every day to make our natural gas system the safest in the nation,” said Nick Stavropoulos, executive vice president of PG&E’s Gas Operations. “We are making real progress that can be seen and felt by our customers, employees and regulators. We still have work to do to achieve our ambitious goal, but the change that is underway is real and measurable.”
The three recently completed recommendations are:
• Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) Validation: PG&E completed MAOP validation for gas transmission pipelines running through high-consequence, populated areas. In addition, PG&E is on track to complete MAOP validation for the remainder of its transmission pipelines by April 2013.
• Work clearance procedures: PG&E’s work clearance procedures now include the development of contingency plans for planned work on the natural gas transmission system. These new procedures will ensure accurate and complete clearance forms and will require that specific personnel have complete knowledge of the intended work and clearance procedures. PG&E’s work clearance procedures define the planning and controls that must be in place before work is performed on the gas system.
• Public Awareness Plan: PG&E developed and incorporated written performance measurements and guidelines into its Public Awareness Plan for evaluating the plan and for continuous improvement. The plan helps ensure communities served are aware of important gas safety information.
The four previously completed recommendations are:
• Records: PG&E conducted an intensive records search including retrieving, scanning, and uploading more than 3.5 million paper documents to meet the NTSB’s threshold for traceable, verifiable and complete records.
• Emergency procedure: PG&E established a comprehensive response procedure to large-scale emergencies on gas transmission pipelines. The procedure identifies a single person to assume command and specifies duties for all others involved; includes development and use of trouble-shooting protocols and checklists; and requires periodic tests or drills to show that the procedure can work.
• 911 notification: PG&E’s gas control room operators, who keep 24-hour watch of the utility’s transmission pipeline network, are now required to immediately notify the 911 call centers for the communities affected when a possible pipeline rupture is detected.
• Toxicological tests: PG&E has revised its post-accident toxicological testing to ensure timely testing and inclusion of all potentially involved employees.
Of the five remaining safety recommendations, the NTSB considers PG&E’s progress “open—acceptable pending completion.” The utility will continue making progress toward their completion, which will include revisions and improvements to its integrity management program to ensure the safe operation of its pipeline system.