PG&E is using its Picarro Surveyor leak-detection technology to find and repair leaks along a 155-mile stretch of its gas distribution pipelines in Northern California, according to the company.
PG&E first began using its vehicle-mounted Picarro Surveyor leak-detection technology back in 2013. The technology is 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional equipment and will be able to cut the North Valley survey time from a couple months using traditional methods, to about nine working days, according to the utility. It allows PG&E to also quickly identify leaks with more precision and immediately schedule repairs or take corrective action as needed.
The cities being surveyed include Redding, Anderson, Red Bluff, Chico, Biggs and Gridley. These surveys are part of PG&E’s ongoing five-year plan to survey and provide maintenance to all of its gas distribution pipelines.
As another example of efficiencies gained in using these vehicle-mounted surveyors instead of performing leak surveys on foot, not long after PG&E launched this surveying pilot program it was able to examine 35,000 premises in the Oakland and Sacramento areas, taking crews 17 business days to complete compared to four months.
PG&E also stated that this new survey program has helped to establish the utility as one of the fastest in the industry when it comes to gas odor call response times at an average of 19.9 minutes in 2014. It has also completed 10 out of 12 recommendations to the program from the National Transportation Safety Board and is working on the remaining two, though the utility didn’t specify what those recommendations included.
“Our leak-sensing fleet can pick up even the slightest trace of a natural gas leak and that helps us keep our customers safe,” said Lia White, senior manager of PG&E’s North Valley division.