The following announcement is from PG&E in regard to gas meter inspections this week.
PG&E is conducting gas meter inspections in the Terra Linda, San Anselmo, Marinwood and Fairfax areas today through Friday due to low odor reads upon completion of testing a section of one of our gas transmission pipelines.
The safety of our customers and communities we serve is our most important responsibility. Approximately 20,000 customers received automated calls regarding the inspections. Due to the lack of odorant in these lines, we are asking customers in the area not to attempt to relight any pilot lights themselves. They should call PG&E at 800-743-5000 to request a visit from a PG&E gas service representative.
While low odor itself does not pose reliability issues or immediate safety issues, PG&E is responding to this issue safely and quickly with the inspections and by increasing the odorization levels. Mercaptan is the main additive to natural gas to make it easier to detect properly functioning gas or natural gas leaks. The smell is often compared to that of rotten eggs.
The area with low odor levels has been isolated but in an abundance of caution, PG&E is inspecting approximately 20,000 services in the Terra Linda, San Anselmo, Marinwood and Fairfax areas. PG&E will continue to take reads of the pipeline until adequate odor levels are restored in the system. They do not expect any loss of natural gas service to customers. Customers in the immediate area may see an increased presence of PG&E personnel and in some instances PG&E crews may need to access customer meters.
PG&E regularly conducts safety testing of its gas pipeline system to validate that the pipeline is operating safely and within the correct operating pressures. One of the ways that PG&E tests its pipeline system is through hydrostatic pressure testing. PG$E conducted hydrostatic pressure testing on a transmission line that runs from Novato to San Rafael and upon returning the line into service, we detected low odor reads in the area between Novato and San Rafael.
Hydrostatic pressure testing is an industry-standard procedure that tests the strength of pipelines using pressurized water. The testing involves pressurizing a section of pipe with water to a much higher level than the pipe will ever operate with natural gas. This enables PG&E to validate the safe operating pressure and detect and repair potential issues safely.
Again, while this situation has not affected gas service, some customers may be lighting pilot lights on heating appliances for the first time this season due to the recent cold weather. Due to the lack of odorant in these lines, we are asking customers in the area not to attempt to relight any pilot lights themselves. They should call PG&E at 800-743-5000 to request a visit from a PG&E gas service representative.
More than 35 employees are in the area conducting leak surveys on foot and using PG&E’s state of the art mobile Picarro Leak Survey technology. An annual leak survey was also conducted in this area last year.
To help protect the health and safety of customers and employees during COVID-19, PG&E has taken precautions to maintain the recommended social distancing of at least six feet from customers when conducting these safety inspections. This important, mandated inspection work may require our employees or contractors to access your gas meter, which is sometimes located in the garage or behind a gate. Please unlock gates and restrain dogs in advance of our inspection to minimize contact.
If PG&E is unable to safely inspect the gas meter while maintaining a six-foot clearance from customers, they will contact customers and schedule an appointment later.
Questions: or concerns can be direct to:
Mark van Gorder
Sr. Government and Public Affairs, North Bay
Pacific Gas and Electric Company