SoCalGas Begins a Pipeline Safety Project in San Luis Obispo County
$8 million infrastructure upgrade project that will replace approximately 2,444 feet of a natural gas pipeline serving thousands of Paso Robles customers
Aug 18, 2017
LOS ANGELES, August 18, 2017—Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced that on Aug. 21 work will begin on an $8 million infrastructure upgrade project that will replace approximately 2,444 feet of a natural gas pipeline on Vine Street from Cuerno Lago Way to Ramada Drive, near the Firestone Brewery in the city of Paso Robles. The project will replace a 10-inch natural gas pipeline that serves thousands of homes, businesses as well as schools and large customers, including the National Guard’s Camp Roberts training base and the Paso Robles Golf Club.
“Thousands of customers will benefit from this investment in our natural gas pipeline system,” said Rick Phillips, senior director of SoCalGas’ Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan. “More than 90 percent of homes in this region use natural gas for heat and hot water and about 60 percent of all electricity generated in California is made by natural gas-fired power plants.”
The project is part of SoCalGas’ Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan, a multi-billion-dollar program that identifies various high pressure pipeline sections throughout SoCalGas’ system and schedules them to be pressure-tested and/or replaced. SoCalGas’ five-year capital plan includes $6 billion in infrastructure investments, including approximately $1.2 billion this year for improvements to distribution, transmission and storage systems and for pipeline safety. Since the PSEP program began in 2013, SoCalGas has tested and/or replaced 172 miles of high pressure lines, and upgraded or replaced 122 valves.
In addition to pipeline testing and replacement, PSEP also includes provisions to upgrade, replace or retrofit hundreds of mainline valves in the system with technology that allows them to be opened or closed remotely by system operators from a central control location, or that automatically shuts off the flow of natural gas in the event of a large drop in pressure.
During this pipeline replacement project, SoCalGas will use an innovative system to capture methane from the pipeline being replaced. Instead of being released into the atmosphere, the gas from the pipeline will be captured and saved for later use. This unique process eliminates the noise and emissions that usually occur during the venting process. Since launching this system in 2016, PSEP has captured methane on seven different pipeline projects. As of mid-July, PSEP has captured a total of 859,681 cubic feet of methane – which is roughly the equivalent of what 4,454 homes use in a day, on average.
Construction on Vine Street in Paso Robles is scheduled to begin on Aug. 21 and is expected to take approximately five months to complete, weather and other factors permitting. The excavation and pipeline installation work will be conducted in a series of sections, one-at-a-time. While each section is under construction, northbound and southbound traffic on Vine Street will be reduced to one lane in and around the construction zone. In addition, northbound travel on Ramada Drive near the parking lot of the Firestone Brewery will be reduced to one lane during the construction work.
Lane reductions will be in effect during work hours only, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and will be marked with traffic cones and signs. A pipeline replacement project is a significant construction operation. During the construction, a new pipeline segment is usually installed adjacent to an existing pipeline, which allows the construction work to proceed without stopping the flow of natural gas through the original pipeline.
Customers are not anticipated to experience any service interruptions. Some residents and local business owners may occasionally smell the odorant in natural gas and may also hear some work-related noise. During work hours, commuters passing by the work site may see excavation, equipment and vehicles. Residents with questions may contact SoCalGas’ call center at 1-800-427-2200. The call center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States, providing clean, safe, affordable and reliable natural gas service to 21.7 million customers in Central and Southern California. Its service territory spans 22,000 square miles from Fresno to the Mexican border, reaching more than 550 communities through 5.9 million meters and 101,000 miles of pipeline. More than 90 percent of Southern California single-family home residents use natural gas for home heat and hot water. In addition, natural gas plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.
SoCalGas has served communities in California for 150 years and is committed to being a leader in the region’s clean energy future. The company has committed to spending $6 billion over the next five years to modernize and upgrade its gas infrastructure, while also reducing methane emissions. SoCalGas is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas, a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative fuel created by capturing and conditioning greenhouse gas emissions from farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. The company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.
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