Earlier this week, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) hosted a Gas Safety Fleet Expo at its service center in Sacramento for employees and the community to experience three of the new or redesigned vehicles in use across its service area. Each of the vehicles allows PG&E crews to better assess where improvements can be made to its gas pipeline system in order to ensure safe and reliable gas operations.
Mounted on PG&E vehicles, the Picarro Surveyor devices are approximately 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional leak detection equipment. This increased accuracy helps PG&E field crews quickly and efficiently identify where potential leaks may exist, according to PG&E. The easy-to-use analyzer and cloud-based analytics send an alert to users and repair teams immediately upon detecting a leak. In October 2012, PG&E deployed an additional six vehicles with the Picarro Surveyor devices, bringing its total surveyor fleet to eight.
The first employee-designed Gas Crew Truck was delivered in October 2012 after hundreds of PG&E employees provided input used to develop the new vehicles. The redesigned truck features a host of improvements including: a more advanced braking system, a roll-up compartment door for safer access on busy streets, a loading device for heavy equipment, and greater fuel economy. Tracy-based American Truck & Trailer Body Company, Inc. will supply PG&E with 57 new Gas Crew Trucks, with plans to produce an additional 55 to 60 over the next three years.
Additionally, PG&E's mobile command vehicle has been designed to handle large-scale events that require crews to work in teams for extended periods of time. The vehicles are built on a 40-foot bus chassis and can house a dozen people for days or weeks, if needed, to address any emergency needs. These units are some of the most technologically advanced vehicles in production and help PG&E gas crews provide the right response capability direct to the scene.
Picarro Surveyor, the redesigned Gas Crew Truck, and the mobile command vehicle are just three of many vehicles PG&E is currently using to enhance the safety and reliability of its natural gas pipeline system. By deploying these and other technologies across its service area, PG&E is driving innovation – all in the name of safety.