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PG&E to Expand Deployment of Picarro's Cutting Edge Gas Leak Detection Technology

Utility Signs Contract for Six Super-Sensitive, Vehicle-Mounted Picarro Surveyor Units
Thursday, October 4, 2012

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 SurveyorTM 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 biological sources of methane. Later this year, the two companies will hold a roadshow in major cities to demonstrate how Picarro’s technology is enabling PG&E to proactively improve safety for its millions of gas customers.

“We deployed 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 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 for Natural Gas Leaks 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 alerts 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 systems.

“Picarro Surveyor is a groundbreaking technology that finds natural gas leaks that incumbent devices simply can’t detect and at much greater 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 distribution system in North America. We expect 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 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 lab 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 disclose event dates and locations before the end of October.