It’s not every day that you need to call on your comrades from your sister utility to request mutual aid, but last Thursday, we needed to do just that to restore more than 3,300 customers who experienced an extended gas outage in the Kensington and Normal Heights communities. It started with an emergency call from our Dispatch team requesting help from our gas crews at the scene of a gas leak and damaged line caused by a contractor doing work in the area.
Our fast-acting gas crews safely controlled the gas leak by early Thursday afternoon and worked through the night to repair damage to a 6-inch main gas line caused by the contractor. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the damage, the number of customers impacted, and the amount of time it took to ensure public safety, we were not able to begin the restoration process until daybreak the following morning.
Mutual aid supports restoration effort
Because this was one of the largest events we’ve experienced in recent years, we activated our Emergency Operations Center and brought in technicians from all over San Diego, including from our sister utility SoCalGas, who traveled from the Los Angeles area to assist with the restoration effort. In total, multiple departments and nearly 130 SDG&E and SoCalGas customer service field technicians were on scene going door to door to complete in-house safety checks and re-light pilot lights.
“I’m so proud of our SDG&E and SoCalGas teams who worked extended hours to make sure our customers, employees and first responders remained safe as they worked to repair a natural gas main line and then restored customers,” said Alan Colton, director of customer field operations. “Everyone involved understood the disruption our customers were experiencing and were committed to getting the job done safely every step of the way.”
We stayed in close contact with our customers throughout the course of the extended outage via social media, Nextdoor and phone calls with our Customer Care Center to provide real-time updates.
Restoring gas service to a record number of customers
With the assistance and mutual aid SoCalGas provided, we successfully completed restoring gas to all available customers by late Saturday afternoon. For those residents who weren’t home for our visit, we left door hangers with instructions on how to reach us for further assistance. We remained in the area until all customers were fully restored to ensure we met our customer expectations.
Why calling 811 Before you Dig is important
It’s often after incidents like this that we think about how calling 811 before you dig can help avoid extended outages and costly repairs like this. Calling 811 is a reminder many of us are familiar with – we often see advertisements, billboards and commercials, but it’s sometimes not until you’re impacted directly that this safety message becomes engrained. Please take this opportunity to remind your friends, family and neighbors about the importance of calling before they dig to protect their safety, their family’s safety and the safety of their community. Visit sdge.com/811 for more information.