SAN BRUNO (KCBS/BCN) – Nearly three months after the deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno, natural gas still isn’t flowing at full pressure into San Francisco and the Peninsula, so PG&E is offering a reward to customers who conserve during chilly winter days.
PG&E Spokesman Joe Molica said the utility will send $25 prepaid debit cards to any customer who reduces natural gas consumption this month. The card will be redeemable at any business that accepts MasterCard.
“Some of our Peninsula gas lines are operating at reduced pressure, so we’re asking our customers in San Francisco and San Mateo counties to save gas this December,” Molica said.
After the Sept. 9 gas line explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed or damaged more than 50 homes, the California Public Utilities Commission asked PG&E to reduce pressure in certain transmission pipelines by 10 percent, and the utility voluntarily reduced pressure by another 10 percent on top of that, Molica said.
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
The investigation into the San Bruno explosion is a long way from done, so PG&E is still running some natural gas pipelines at 20 percent below normal pressure. That means less gas available when demand hits its peak.
Officials at PG&E and the CPUC are trying to avoid restoring pipeline pressure to prior levels until the National Transportation Safety Board completes its investigation into the San Bruno explosion and determines exactly what caused it.
Molica said that past requests PG&E has made for its customers to conserve energy have been well received.
“When we call on them to conserve, they really do,” he said.
In January and February of 2011, PG&E will offer a 20 percent credit on utility bills for customers who use 10 percent less gas than during those same months last year, Molica said. The credit reward is offered to all PG&E customers.
Tips for lowering heating bills include setting water heater temperatures at 120 degrees, shutting furnaces off when leaving home for more than four hours and setting thermostats no higher than 68 degrees.
More conservation ideas are on PG&E’s website http://www.pge.com/.
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