Aug. 15 — PG&E testing natural gas pipeline

To: UCSC Community

From: Henry Salameh, director of Physical Plant

Update: PG&E completed its natural gas transmission pipeline hydrostatic testing on September 1. UCSC and the surrounding area service were returned to normal operations. PG&E sends its appreciation to the campus community for its curtailment efforts during this testing period.

This is a reminder that PG&E, which provides natural gas to UC Santa Cruz, will be testing its main pipeline through Santa Cruz County beginning Aug. 15. In order to do this testing, PG&E will be reducing the gas supply to its customers served by this pipeline.  

The testing is scheduled to last up to two weeks, but could last longer if PG&E discovers any problems. In the event this occurs, Physical Plant will notify the campus of the impacts.

UC Santa Cruz uses natural gas to heat water and buildings, and to generate electricity. The campus will be able to continue heating its buildings and water through an established gas supply backfeed, and electricity will be supplied by PG&E. This reduced natural gas supply will provide the campus with an adequate amount of natural gas for building comfort but high-demand equipment, such as the new cogeneration plant, will not be online during this period. We don’t expect to notice any campus impacts.

However, I ask that you be mindful of, and conserve, your natural gas usage while the main pipe is offline and undergoing these tests.

My team worked with PG&E to schedule this testing during one of the quietest times at UC Santa Cruz and during one of the lowest natural gas load periods of the year. I appreciate your patience and help in making this a successful operation.

If you have any further questions, please contact Associate Director John Steward at

Tips to Save Natural Gas

  • Set thermostats in your work/home areas to a minimal acceptable level during this time.

  • Consider using cold water cycle if your work/home has laundry facilities that are in use.

  • Keep showers to a minimum. This will help the campus in both reduced natural gas usage and water usage.

  • Set water heaters to minimum acceptable settings (and vacation/holiday settings if no one is occupying the space).

  • Report any issues that you notice that result in increased natural gas usage (for example, buildings that are being conditioned with no occupancy).