PG&E Identifies Gas Lines with Tangles

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. The blue lines on this map represent the major gas lines in Alameda. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will replace some of the older trees on both public and private property near these lines.

Pacific Gas and Electric has plans to remove and replace eight trees, and possibly more, on the island. The gas utility recently reviewed 35 trees on public property and another 48 trees on private property. Those property owners will receive letters from PG&E requesting appointments to discuss the trees.

“While it may not be visible to the naked eye, certain trees, brush and even structures can threaten gas safety because they block first responders from getting to the pipe during emergencies,” said Jeff Smith, a PG&E spokesperson. “It is really the same reason you can’t park your car in front of a fire hydrant. Fire officials do not necessarily need access to the hydrant on a regular basis, but during an emergency they need it immediately or the emergency could become much more severe very quickly.” 

The tree program is part of the Community Pipeline Safety Initiative. “The purpose of the Community Pipeline Safety Initiative is to ensure that first responders, like firefighters, have immediate access to PG&E gas transmission lines in the event of an emergency or natural disaster like an earthquake,” according to Smith. 

The program became necessary because over the course of years items like trees, sheds and shrubs have been placed directly over gas transmission lines. PG&E is working with customers to replace trees on their properties if the trees potentially block first-responders from access they need during an emergency.

Any re-landscaping required would all be done at PG&E’s expense, according to Smith. “We will not move forward until the customer is happy with our plan; we want to ensure that every situation is in better shape than we found it when the work is complete,” Smith stated.

“We completely understand how important trees and landscape are to families, the community and the environment. We want our customers to know that if a tree needs to be replaced for safety reasons, we will listen to their concerns and work together with the property owner to ensure the natural beauty of the area is restored,” according to Smith.