Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan

The safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve is our top priority.  This includes the 14,000 miles of natural gas pipeline that we manage.  Reflecting that commitment to safety, we construct, operate, and maintain our pipeline system to meet or exceed applicable federal and state regulations and requirements.  SDG&E routinely performs various pipeline safety and maintenance tasks, including patrolling, inspecting, testing, repairing and replacing pipelines.

All natural gas transmission operators in the State of California are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and in 2011 the CPUC ordered the operators to each develop an Implementation Plan to achieve the goal of orderly and cost-effectively testing or replacing all natural gas transmission pipelines in their system that have not been pressure-tested.  SDG&E supports this added measure of pipeline safety ordered by the CPUC, and submitted a Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan (PSEP) to implement the directives of the Commission which has been approved.

SDG&E’s Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan (PSEP) identifies various pipeline sections throughout our system that have not been pressure-tested, or for which there is no record of a pressure test, and slates them to be pressure-tested or replaced.   The Plan also proposes to upgrade, replace, or retrofit about 30 mainline valves in the system with technology that allows them to be opened or closed remotely by system operators from a central control location, or that automatically shuts off the flow of natural gas in the event of a large pressure drop.

Currently there are twelve pipeline safety enhancement plan projects that we’re initiating within our service area through March, 2018.  These projects will include pipeline testing, retrofitting and replacement activities.  We believe that all customers will benefit from the added testing and safety validation of our transmission system.   SDG&E will be notifying customers, and the public, when pressure testing or replacement activity is coming to their neighborhood.

Pipeline Replacement

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.

 Usually a new pipeline is installed alongside the existing pipeline to be replaced.  This is done so that our work can continue without interrupting the flow of natural gas through the original pipeline.  Before the new pipeline is brought into service, we conduct a hydrostatic pressure test to verify the integrity of the new section.

Pipeline Valve Replacement and Retrofitting

Valves are mechanical devices that control the flow of natural gas through the pipelines.  These valves can be opened or closed in order to control gas flow to a pipeline segment.  This is needed for maintenance, testing or replacement of that segment.  These valves also give our operators greater flexibility and control that can mean shorter response times in the event of an emergency.

Hydrostatic Pressure Testing

During our testing activities we test a pipeline section to make sure it’s reliable.  Hydrostatic pressure testing is a common method that we use to assess our pipeline.  We fill the pipeline segment with water and apply above normal pressure to the interior area being tested.  After a holding the increased pressure for at least eight hours without any leaks, the test is complete and the pipeline segment is reconnected and returned to service.  If the test shows a rupture or leak, the pipeline section will be repaired or replaced and a second pressure test is conducted before returning the pipe to service.

Construction Area

One of our top priorities is providing you with safe and reliable energy. To do this, we make improvements to our system. We have a plan underway to enhance our natural gas pipeline throughout our service area. We are working in the communities listed below to perform pressure testing and replacement on sections of one of our natural gas pipelines.  

Construction Area

Projected Start Date

Projected Completion Date

Santee (Project 49-13)

April 2015

July 2016

El Cajon/La Mesa (Project 49-15)

July 2015

December 2016

La Mesa (Project 49-16)

March 2015

December 2016

East La Mesa (Project 49-17 East)

June 2015

October 2016

Mission Valley/La Mesa (Project 49-17 West)

August 2016

September 2016

Mission Valley – Phase B (Project 49-26)

March 2016

August 2016

Morena Blvd (Project 49-28)

September 2014

September 2016

Pacific Highway (Project 49-32L)

July 2016

December 2016