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July 28th, 2008
Solar Power Helps Protect PSE’s Natural Gas system

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PR – Puget Sound
Energy (utility subsidiary of Puget Energy [NYSE:PSD]) earlier this
month added two new solar-powered systems to dozens installed since
1984 that help protect the utility’s underground natural gas system in
Western Washington.

PSE’s two
newest solar-powered systems in Edmonds, Wash., use the sun to produce
electric current along more than six miles of buried natural gas steel
pipe to block corrosion caused by the electrochemical reaction between
the metal pipe and the surrounding soil. The anticorrosion technique,
called cathodic protection, uses a small amount of electric current to
charge the pipe’s surface and direct the rust to an anode. This in
effect “fools” the pipe, targeting the corrosion elsewhere, increasing
the longevity of the pipe and, long-term, decreasing the potential for
natural gas leaks.

In total, the utility’s nearly 85 solar-powered cathodic protection
systems installed in six counties protect more than 250 miles of buried
natural gas steel pipe.

Without needing to be positioned near a source of socket-ready
power, PSE’s solar units can be installed nearly anywhere. “While good
for the environment, these solar installations give us the latitude to
operate our natural gas protection systems in remote areas where other
sources of power may be difficult to install or operate,” said Sue
McLain, PSE senior vice president of Operations. “It’s fitting for PSE,
which operates the Pacific Northwest’s largest solar power-generating
facility at our Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility near Ellensburg to
have also helped pioneer this technique to take advantage of solar
energy to help protect our natural gas system.”

With approximately a quarter of PSE’s 300 cathodic protection
systems operating on solar power, PSE is the only Washington state
utility using solar technology to protect its natural gas system, and
one of the largest users in the U.S. PSE installed its first solar
powered cathodic protection system in 1984.

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