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  1. Potential benefits of Earthquake Early Warning prompts PG&E to be among first energy companies to implement the technology

    As California acts to implement an effective and sustainable statewide earthquake early warning (EEW) system, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is taking steps to integrate the technology into its emergency management and preparedness efforts. PG&E is working with both private and publicly funded technology developers and integrators, including Early Warning Labs, Seismic Warning Systems, and the ShakeAlert project, which is a coalition that includes the U.S. Geological Survey, the State of California and universities including the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon. These research collaborations allow PG&E to actively pilot multiple EEW solutions to test which ones will allow both automated and human actions in the seconds before an earthquake to protect lives, lessen property damage and ensure rapid service restoration. PG&E is among the first energy companies in California and the United States to begin implementing EEW technology as a part of its seismic response efforts. “Safety is the cornerstone of PG&E’s culture. Nothing is more important to us than public, employee and contractor safety, and PG&E’s embrace of earthquake early warning technology is the latest example of our dedication to taking a proactive and committed approach to preparedness and resiliency,” said Barry Anderson, vice president, Electric Distribution, PG&E. In 2017, PG&E joined Berkeley Seismological Laboratory’s Earthquake Research Affiliates Program which is a public-private/industrial-academic partnership group focused on the development and use of innovative earthquake information products. This offers the opportunity for PG&E to access more tailored data feeds that might be beneficial to its seismic response plans. It also allows PG&E to engage with public and private institutions furthering EEW research, including The California Institute of Technology and UC Berkeley. PG&E believes that EEW systems could potentially play a vital role in employee, customer, and grid and pipeline safety , providing a net benefit for customers and employees in its service area and beyond. The systems use seismic sensor networks to measure shaking and advanced software to calculate the epicenter of the quake, its intensity, and time until shaking arrives at the end-user’s location. This all leads to warning end users of impending shaking via desktop computer notifications, as well as through emergency alert systems. Depending on the distance to the epicenter of a quake, the systems can provide anywhere from a few seconds up to a minute or more of warning that shaking is about to occur. Within that time, people could take protective postures and activate safety procedures before the strongest shaking occurs, helping to reduce damage and casualties. Eventually, EEW notifications will be delivered via smartphone, radio and television. “EEW aids situational awareness by providing operators and remote control systems precious seconds before a major quake to alert field personnel, stand down operational orders and automatically open or close critical valves in pipelines, isolate systems, and reroute power. Taking such actions before shaking starts can protect and save lives, and it can also help prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of a seismic event,” said Dr. Stuart Nishenko, principal seismologist in PG&E’s Geosciences department. PG&E’s EEW pilots will commence in 2017 and will exhibit the use of EEW notifications and data streams in real-world applications, including: Installing ground sensor stations at select PG&E Bay Area facilities to provide basic audio alerts to employees when a quake has occurred and shaking is imminent. Data from the sensor stations also will feed into the Bay Area Regional Earthquake Warning System (BREWS), enhancing the seismometer network and helping fast-track the adoption of earthquake-warning services throughout the region. Installing hardware on a bank of elevators at the company’s downtown San Francisco headquarters, which will provide immediate elevator recall to the nearest floor when a warning signal is received. This will lock the elevator cars in place and allow passengers to safely disembark the elevators ahead of shaking, minimizing potential injury to personnel. Providing desktop alerts to employees connected to PG&E’s intranet at the company’s downtown San Francisco headquarters so they can drop, cover and hold on before shaking occurs. Although full implementation of an EEW system might be several years away, these pilots are important to understanding the capabilities and benefits of having advanced warning of a coming earthquake. PG&E’s long-term vision involves achieving operational automation with EEW technology by integrating it with PG&E’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network to actuate electric switches and gas valves to de-energize susceptible electric lines and depressurize gas lines that may be in harm’s way. This could mitigate or eliminate hazards to employees, the public, and the electric and gas grids caused by energized electric lines slapping or breaking as a result of ground forces, or gas line ruptures while at full pressure when the ground shifts. With millions of people living in close proximity to major fault lines throughout PG&E’s service area, the company will look to expand its technology demonstrations in the years ahead. And, PG&E reminds its customers that preparation is key to surviving a major quake. PG&E’s website offers tips at www.pge.com/beprepared.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 1 Feb 2017

  2. Oil and Gas: Oil pipeline safety rule scaled back after cost objections

    President Barack Obama's administration scaled back new safety measures for the sprawling network of fuel pipelines that crisscross the United States on Friday, following oil industry complaints that proposed changes would cost companies billions of dollars.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 17 Jan 2017

  3. PHMSA issues final rule aimed at improving liquids pipeline safety

    The US Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration completed one of its top priority rulemakings for 2016 as Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez signed long-awaited safety requirements for onshore hazardous materials pipelines. The final rule makes critical safety improvements, PHMSA ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 16 Jan 2017

  4. Oil and Gas: California utility must run ads over deadly blast conviction

    A federal judge on Thursday sentenced California's largest utility to pay a $3 million fine and run television commercials publicizing its pipeline safety convictions as punishment in a criminal case stemming from a deadly natural-gas explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Sat, 28 Jan 2017

  1. Natural Gas Pipeline: Judge set to sentence PG&E in criminal case tied to blast

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 24 Jan 2017

  2. Natural Gas Pipeline: Judge postpones sentencing of PG&E in case tied to blast

    A federal judge says he is inclined to require Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to mention its convictions in ads and have employees do thousands of hours of community service as part of its sentence in a criminal case stemming from a deadly natural gas explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 25 Jan 2017

  3. Pipeline News: Iowa spill is largest of diesel fuel in US since 2010

    Workers were expected to complete cleaning up Thursday about 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel that spewed from a broken pipeline onto an Iowa farm, the largest U.S. diesel spill since 2010, federal authorities said.

    Online Articles

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    Sat, 28 Jan 2017

  4. PHMSA proposal would broaden gas pipeline safety requirements

    The US Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration proposed broader natural gas transmission pipeline safety regulations that would add new assessment and repair criteria, and include lines in medium population density areas, called moderate consequence areas, where an incident would pose ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 17 Mar 2016

  5. PHMSA to issue gas pipeline safety rules soon, House panel told

    The US Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration expects to issue natural gas pipeline safety rules in the next few weeks now that its proposals have completed a White House Office of Management and Budget review, PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez told a US House Energy and ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 1 Mar 2016

  6. House Energy and Commerce Committee approves pipeline safety bill

    The US House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed HR 5050, the pipeline safety reauthorization bill, on Apr. 27. The action followed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s approval of its own pipeline safety bill, HR 4937, a week earlier.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 27 Apr 2016

  7. NEB, CEPA form committee on pipeline safety

    Canada’s National Energy Board and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association have formed a pipeline safety committee.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 26 May 2016

  8. Senate vote sends 2016 pipeline safety bill to White House

    The US Senate unanimously approved an amended federal pipeline safety bill it received days earlier from the House of Representatives, sending it to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 14 Jun 2016

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