SAN FRANCISCO and SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Picarro Inc. today announced an expanded collaboration to further advance the safety of the utility's natural gas pipelines. PG&E will deploy six Picarro Surveyor™ devices for vehicle-mounted, super-sensitive gas leak detection throughout its Northern and Central California service area—making PG&E the first utility in the world to roll out the innovative technology.
The Picarro devices are approximately 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional leak detection equipment, capable of detecting leaks down to one part per billion in ambient air while reducing false positives from naturally occurring methane. Later this year, the two companies will hold a roadshow in cities throughout PG&E's service area to demonstrate how Picarro's technology is enabling PG&E to significantly improve safety for its millions of gas customers.
"We deployed the Picarro Surveyor™ prototypes nine months ago, and they've proven to be so powerful that we are committing to rolling out this innovative technology across our service area," said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E's executive vice president of Gas Operations. "And because the Picarro Surveyor™ will allow us to conduct more frequent and comprehensive surveys, we expect to support the deployment with the hiring of more leak detection and remediation professionals. We're making every effort to ensure that PG&E is the safest utility in the United States, and Picarro's technology is a cornerstone to making that happen."
Mounted on PG&E vehicles, the Picarro Surveyor™ measures and maps methane plumes in the air as the vehicle drives through neighborhoods—a dramatic improvement over the hand-held, less sensitive instruments used in walking surveys. The easy-to-use analyzer and associated computer alert users and repair teams immediately upon leak detection.
PG&E initially ordered two devices in early 2012 and studied their capabilities by mounting them on electric vehicles. Picarro and PG&E have now signed a three-year managed services contract covering a total of six units.
"The Picarro Surveyor™ is a groundbreaking technology that finds natural gas leaks that incumbent devices simply can't detect and at great speed," said Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro. "PG&E is clearly serving as a leadership model for other utilities by proving once again they're committed to having the safest natural gas distribution system in North America. We expect the Picarro Surveyor™ to become the de facto leak detection platform for America's natural gas industry as more utilities recognize that a safety-foremost culture of finding and fixing leaks as quickly as possible makes great business sense."
Picarro produces the world's highest-performance and easiest-to-use gas analyzers, serving a wide variety of markets. With the highest precision and sensitivity, months or years of calibration-free operation, and a quick and easy setup, Picarro analyzers allow customers to make the highest quality measurements both in the modern laboratory and in the most remote locations.
An event in San Francisco later this year will honor the collaboration and kick off the multi-city roadshow. The companies will announce event dates and locations before the end of October.
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 http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.
About Picarro Inc.
Picarro Inc. is the world's leading producer of greenhouse gas and optical stable isotope instruments, which are used in a wide variety of scientific and industrial applications, including: atmospheric science, air quality, greenhouse gas measurements, gas leak detection, food safety, hydrology, ecology and more. The company's products are all designed and manufactured at Picarro's Santa Clara, California, headquarters and exported to countries worldwide. Picarro's products are based on dozens of patents related to cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) technology. Investors include Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Focus Ventures, and Greylock Partners. For more information, visit http://www.picarro.com.
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)