El Paso Electric has installed a sophisticated monitoring system on 11 miles of one of its natural-gas pipelines in southeast Houston.
ThreatScan, which is a GE product, "has been specifically developed to provide pipeline operators the means to reliably determine when and where their pipeline has been struck," according to the company.
It's the first of its kind in Texas.
So is EPE expecting some sort of terrorist attack out near Pasadena?
Instead, the sophisticated system is designed to detect that standard bane of pipelines, idiot contractors who dig without checking whether there's flammable natural gas flowing just inches away from their backhoe blade.
"It senses if someone hits a pipeline and let's the monitoring operation know the pipeline's been hit," says EPE spokesman Robert Newberry.
So no heightened chatter amongst terror cells led to the installation?
"No," he says. "It was mostly GE trying to sell a product. And we try to be as safe as we can in whatever we do, of course."
-- Richard Connelly
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.