About 73,000 customers will benefit from the pipeline safety enhancement work Improvements will enhance safety features in pipelines that service hospitals, schools and homes
LOS ANGELES, May 25, 2017 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced that it will begin several pipeline safety enhancement projects this summer in San Luis Obispo County and in the city of Lompoc, in Santa Barbara County. These safety upgrades will use innovative features that will enhance the region’s pipeline system, which serves about 73,000 regional customers, including such vital agencies as the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lucia Mar Unified School District, the city of Lompoc and several homes in that region. More than $14 million will be invested in these integral natural gas transmission systems.
“Thousands of people in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties will benefit from this investment in the 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.”
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. “Upgrading our pipeline system ensures we can continue to reliably provide the natural gas service our customers count on,” Phillips added.
Most of the work will begin in June and is expected to be completed by the end of summer. A final project, in Arroyo Grande, is slated to begin in October. SoCalGas representatives will host a Town Hall meeting to answer questions from local residents. The meeting will be in July at the South County Regional Center, 800 W. Branch St., in Arroyo Grande. The Santa Barbara County construction project will be in the city of Lompoc. That project begins on July 10 on Highway 1, the major north-south artery that runs through the city of Lompoc.
In several of these construction projects, SoCalGas will rely on an innovative system to capture methane during many of these pipeline replacement projects. 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.
All of this work is part of SoCalGas’ Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan, a multi-billion-dollar program that SoCalGas launched in 2013 to identify high-pressure pipeline sections throughout SoCalGas’ system and schedule them to be pressure-tested and/or replaced.
SoCalGas routinely performs various pipeline maintenance and safety tasks, including patrolling, inspecting, testing, repairing and replacing pipelines. Sometimes pipelines are replaced to meet expanding customer and/or gas system needs as well as to accommodate infrastructure improvement projects of cities, counties and state agencies.
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.
Pipeline replacement is one of the many ways SoCalGas maintains the safety and integrity of its natural gas pipeline system. SoCalGas’ highest priority is the safety of its employees, customers and the communities it serves. Reflecting that commitment to safety, SoCalGas constructs, operates and maintains its pipeline system to meet or exceed all applicable federal and state regulations and requirements. 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.
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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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