PG&E has satisfied seven of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations that came as a result of its investigation into the 2010 pipeline accident in San Bruno.
The NTSB, in a recent letter to the company, acknowledged PG&E had satisfied the recommendation to verify the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) 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.
The NTSB also acknowledged PG&E’s actions to complete two additional safety recommendations of the 12 that were issued in response to the San Bruno accident. In total, PG&E has completed action on seven of the safety recommendations.
Of the five remaining safety recommendations, the NTSB considers PG&E’s progress “open,” which means acceptable pending completion. The utility expects to complete action on three more recommendations by the end of 2013, including revisions and improvements to its integrity management program, which ensure the safe operation of pipeline systems.
“Our employees continue to work hard every day to make our natural gas system the safest in the nation,” said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E’s executive vice president of 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 under way is real and measurable.”
Stavropoulos spoke about the news today (March 26) in Houston where he is the keynote speaker at the annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference. The event is sponsored by Pipeline & Gas Journal in partnership with the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) and the INGAA Foundation.
Besides the MAOP validation, the other two recently completed recommendations are:
- 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.
PG&E has made steady and continuous improvements to the safety of its Gas Operations since the San Bruno accident. Click here to read a Currents story and see a video on some of the 2012 accomplishments.