Utilities News

PG&E Gas Pipeline Projects in Palo Alto

PG&E Gas Pipeline Projects in Palo Alto

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The City of Palo Alto Utilities supplies electricity and natural gas to all residents and businesses in Palo Alto.   However, we have to transport these commodities from where they originate to our town via pipelines and electric lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).  This web page provides updates on various PG&E projects related to those transport pipelines and electric lines in Palo Alto.

Check back often!  Changes occur frequently and this website will be updated as they happen.

Or follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute info: @PAUtilities  


January 5, 2015
Releasing (venting) natural gas from transmission pipeline
Why:  Part of transmission pipeline project
When:  Tuesday, January 5, 2015
Time:  11 am – 3 pm (approximately)
Where:  Border of Mountain View and Palo Alto (near East Bayshore, Highway 101 and San Antonio Avenue)
Impacts:  Odor and noise

Further Details: 
PG&E notified the City that the company will be releasing natural gas to the atmosphere, a process they call “venting,” on January 5 in Mountain View. The location is very near the City of Palo Alto border at East Bayshore, Highway 101 and San Antonio Avenue.

Due to proximity to Palo Alto’s border, our customers may smell natural gas during the process if the air carries the smell. Additionally, venting tends to produce noise, and, in some cases in the past, the noise has been significantly loud. We do not fully know what the odor and/or noise impacts may be.

PG&E is notifying customers within proximity of the release and has informed Santa Clara Office of Emergency Services, as well as local municipal and public safety officials. Customers may call PG&E 24 hours a day at 800-PGE-5000 (800-743-5000) with any questions or concerns.

December 7:

  PG&E will be conducting investigative digs of their gas pipeline around the Arastradero, Foothill Expressway and Miranda area. The work involves inspecting and testing the gas line as part of the company’s ongoing safety and maintenance program.
Project Duration:  Early December (Monday, December 7) through early April. This timeline takes into account some allowances for delays due to weather, as well as time needed for restoration of the pipeline and surrounding area.
Work Hours:  9 am to 3 pm
Customer Impacts:
  The work is expected to impact traffic in the area, although no roads should be closed during construction. General construction noise may also be a factor. PG&E does not anticipate the need to clear or vent any gas from the pipeline, so gas odors should not be detected. If any of these factors change, PG&E will notify us. 

PG&E encourages people to call them 24 hours a day at 800-PGE-5000 (800-743-5000) with any questions or concerns. If you suspect there is an emergency, please call Utilities Dispatch at (650) 329-2579 or 911.

Gas Transmission Line #109

Finished--August 2013.


Finished--October 2012.

Gas Transmission Line #101
(runs near East Bayshore Drive, next to Highway 101) 

PIG Launching Facility--Finished March 2014.

Pipeline Casing Inspection
Finished October 2012. Excavation conducted to allow inspection of pipeline casing in a commercial parking lot area off Geng Road (near Embarcadero).

Corrosion Inspection---
Finished September 2012.
This excavation at the intersection of Embarcadero and E. Bayshore Road was conducted to allow a pipeline corrosion inspection.  

Gas Transmission Line #132
(runs in zig-zag fashion from Middlefield to Alma to Page Mill Road and beyond).

Hydrotest--Finished Fall 2011. 

Smart PIG Valve Project--Finished July 2013. Excavation near 2500 block of Alma Ave. to access valves. Repaving finished late August 2013. 

Impacts to Palo Alto

Everyone in Palo Alto extends special THANKS to those impacted by any PG&E pipeline-related construction projects.  Despite any inconveniences, we all can appreciate the value of verifying the safety of these pipelines!

PG&E Transmission Pipeline Overview
(information supplied by PG&E)

PG&E has 3 main transmission pipelines that traverse the City of Palo Alto. They are referenced as #101, #109 and #132.  The #132 pipeline is the one involved in the San Bruno incident and is the only one of the three pipelines required to be tested in PG&E's current hydrostatic testing project.

PG&E’s line #132 
Running roughly 55 miles long and stretching from Milpitas to South San Francisco, Pipeline #132 is only one of many transmission pipelines involved in PG&E’s statewide testing.  (See testing history at the bottom of this page). Per agreement with the CPUC, PG&E assignment was to hydrostatically test a total of approximately 160 miles of transmission pipeline statewide.  The criteria for selecting the portions to be tested were the age of the pipelines and the absence of good records regarding previous testing. 

PG&E’s line #109
The Palo Alto portion of this pipeline runs along Middlefield Rd from Mountain View and then turns up East Charleston/Arastradero Road, continuing north along the Foothill Expressway. Most of this pipeline has been replaced in recent years.    

PG&E’s line #101
This pipeline runs roughly parallel to Highway 101. All Palo Alto portions of this pipeline have been replaced since the requirement for hydrostatic testing was put in place and there are validated records of this pipeline passing the hydrostatic test. In order to perform ongoing corrosion tests, PG&E excavated around a portion of this pipeline (near Embarcadero Road and East Bayshore) during summer 2012.

PG&E installed a permanent "in the pipeline inspection device" (called a PIG) launching station adjacent to East Bayshore Road that will allow regular, ongoing inspections of pipeline #101. 


General concerns or queries can be directed to the City of Palo Alto Utilities Communications Manager by calling (650) 329-2417 or emailing catherine.elvert@cityofpaloalto.org   

Public and media calls about specific timing and details should be directed to PG&E at the numbers below.  

PG&E Language Assistance: 

Spanish: Para ayuda en español por favor llame al 1-800-660-6789.
Chinese: 1-800-893-9555.
Tagalog: 1-888-743-7431.
Vietnamese: 1-800-298-8438.

Gas Pipeline #132 HYDROSTATIC TESTING HISTORY in Palo Alto (2011)
(based on data provided to Utilities staff by PG&E)

    • September 10: Testing of the Middlefield to Alma section of the pipeline was successfully completed and this pipeline section was restored to full service.
    • October 30: Hydrotest of the first of two portions of the T-30 (Page Mill Road) pipeline segment was successfully completed.
    • November 3-14: Small (1 millimeter) leak found in the second portion of the T-30 pipeline segment at Page Mill Road, south of Hanover.  The entire segment was hydrotested once again and passed without incident.
    • November 18-20: T-30 pipeline was restored to normal operation.
    • December through February 2012: PG&E conducted general clean up and restoration of all the areas of activity (Alma Street, Page Mill Road, Park Avenue).  PG&E conducted a verification dig in early February at Alma and Oregon to inspect the pipeline casing, which is not part of the pipeline itself. 

Last Updated: January 4, 2015