PG&E Unveils New, High-Tech Laser Scanner Device Designed To Enhance Pipeline Safety

PG&E Unveils New, High-Tech Laser Scanner Device Designed To Enhance Pipeline

Handheld Laser Scanner Provides 3-D View to Determine Safety and Integrity of
Gas Pipelines

PR Newswire

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 17, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company
(PG&E) today announced that it has added a new, high-tech laser scanner device
to its suite of technology used to enhance gas pipeline safety in the field.
This new tool provides a highly efficient and accurate way to determine the
safety and integrity of natural gas pipelines.

The hand-held device, called EXAscan, manufactured by Creaform of Levis,
Quebec, is held a few inches above a section of pipeline and produces a
three-dimensional, color-coded view of the pipeline on a monitor. Accurate
within 40 microns, or 0.0016 of an inch, the device can detect potential
safety concerns such as corrosion, dents or warping within a pipeline.

Conventional industry practice for measuring pipeline corrosion involves
digging down to a section of the pipe, drawing an extensive grid of one-inch
squares on the pipe, and then measuring the "wall loss"—or effects of
corrosion—square by square with a manual tool. The EXAscan technology allows
PG&E to capture the same information from the entire pipeline section within
minutes and helps assess whether that section is fit for service. PG&E Senior
Welding Engineer Bronson Shelly described using the new product as "night and
day" compared to the manual process.

"When it comes to finding the nooks and crannies of pipeline dents or external
corrosion, the EXAscan provides speed and detail far and above the mechanical
way of doing things," said Alex Gutierrez, a supervisor with PG&E's Applied
Technology Services division.

The device has already proven useful at PG&E. In spring 2012, a crew in the
East Bay used it to check the status of a gas pipeline when the weight of a
construction crane caused an underground water main to break. The crew did an
ovality check—a process that ensures the pipeline is at least 97 percent of
being perfectly round—on a nearby gas pipeline to confirm that it did not
sustain damage. In that case, the scanner found no concerns with the
pipeline's shape, thereby assuring its integrity.

The EXAscan's capabilities extend beyond gas operations into PG&E's electric
operations and electric supply. The device helped PG&E's hydroelectric
engineers perform a stress test to ensure the structural integrity of newly
repaired rotors at Helms Pumped Storage Plant in the Sierra National Forest.

The EXAscan technology will work in conjunction with other pipeline safety
tools to help PG&E test, repair and replace segments of pipeline as needed
throughout PG&E's service area, as set forth in PG&E's Pipeline Safety
Enhancement Plan (PSEP).

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG),
is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the
United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company
delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern
and Central California. For more information, visit: and

SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

Contact: PG&E External Communications, +1-415-973-5930
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