As of Wednesday evening, Oct. 10, Fortis BC was asking all of their natural gas customers in the province to further reduce usage as work continued on a ruptured Enbridge pipeline near Prince George.
At 4:55 p.m. on Oct. 10, the utility provider issued a news release stating customers had already reduced natural gas usage by about 20 per cent, but more was needed.
“We still need more customers to reduce their natural gas usage as much as possible for now, as we continue to work with Enbridge and confirm the impact on the system. We’re asking all of our natural gas customers across the province to turn off their thermostats and to reduce their use of all other natural gas appliances,” states the FortisBC release.
The Enbridge pipeline carrying natural gas ruptured at approximately 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9, causing the gas being transported to ignite. FortisBC said the pipeline was shut down immediately, as was an adjacent pipeline as a precaution.
The pipeline runs from Chetwynd to the Washington border and serves about 700,000 FortisBC customers. While natural gas used by FortisBC customers in the Shuswap, Okanagan and southwestern B.C. comes through a separate pipeline out of Alberta, FortisBC asked that all its approximately 300,000 customers in those areas to cut back on gas usage as well so that some of that flow could be diverted to the Lower Mainland.
“We recognize that in some parts of BC it may be impractical to turn off thermostats due to cold weather. Even turning the temperature down as much as possible and reducing hot water use and other natural gas usage will help,” states FortisBC, adding any decreased energy flow and potential loss of service is expected to be temporary.