Friday, October 29, 2010

PG&E says it may need $425 million for 300 automated shutoff valves

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Criticized for its long delay in manually shutting off gas to the ruptured San Bruno pipeline, PG&E said on Oct. 25 that it has identified some 300 manual gas valves that may need to be replaced with faster automatic or remotely controlled shut-off technology, at a potential cost of up to $450 million.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, hosted a meeting on Oct. 25 for PG&E officials to explain to mayors from across the Bay Area more about natural gas main shutoff valves and other pipeline details.

In its disclosures on Oct. 25, PG&E noted that the cost of replacing a manual valve with one that automatically closes after a drop in pressure from a pipe rupture or that can be remotely controlled by a human operator varies from $100,000 to $1.5 million, depending on such factors as how accessible the valve is for retrofitting. But it was vague about how many valves it has - manual or otherwise - as well as how long it might take to replace them all.
"The urgency is pretty obvious," said Speier, noting that PG&E told her earlier that a single valve replacement can take up to nine months. "

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