PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said Sunday night that the company "will certainly" look into a gas smell residents and passersby have reported in the vicinity of Oregon Expressway and Alma Street.
Smith said he was passing the information on immediately Sunday night following a query by the Weekly. He stressed that people should report any gas smell immediately. Smith said he could not specify where gas mains in Palo Alto are located, or their size, for security reasons.
Palo Alto residents have been complaining to the City of Palo Alto about a gas-like odor at Oregon and Alma since January, some posters on the Town Square forum at www.PaloAltoOnline.com are saying.
Prompted by a press release in which the city claimed it is "proactive" in checking for leaks, some posters on Town Square said they have smelled gas and in some cases reported their concerns to the city's Utilities Department.
One poster said they reported the odor in January to a city crew working on Emerson Street but were told the crew could not do anything because the gas lines belonged to PG&E.
"Fixing them is a low priority," the poster said he or she was told.
Some residents described the odor as gasoline-like.
"I have to hold my breath walking to Jerry Bowden Park or underground to California Avenue," another poster wrote.
Smith said some of the company's lines have rupture-control valves and the 24-hour control center has the ability to shut down some lines.
PG&E also has on some lines automatic over-pressure-protection-control valves that protect pipelines from exceeding their maximum optimal pressure, he said. But he could not specify which, if any, of Palo Alto's lines are protected, also citing security reasons.
Smith did not immediately know the age of Palo Alto's pipeline.