(Black Press Media files)

B.C.’s natural gas supply could see 50% dip through winter due to pipeline blast

It’s been two weeks since the Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Prince George on Oct. 9, sparking a large fireball

FortisBC is warning customers that the recent gas pipeline explosion in Prince George could reduce natural gas supply by as much as 50 per cent as we head into winter.

The utility company is continuing to ask its customers to conserve energy.

“The natural gas system will be challenged in times of high demand throughout the winter,” it said in a news release Monday.

It’s been two weeks since the Enbridge pipeline ruptured on Oct. 9, sparking a large fireball. About 100 residents in the area were forced out of their homes.

READ MORE: FortisBC warns pipeline explosion could lead to dip in natural gas supply

The cause of the fire remains unknown, but police have ruled out criminal activity.

FortisBC vice president Doug Stout told Black Press Media that the utility company has seen a 20 per cent reduction by industrial and residential customers since the rupture.

READ MORE: Pipeline explosion causes evacuations near Prince George

“Demand goes up as the weather gets cooler,” he said. “We’re still asking people to keep their thermostat down. If you can work with 18C and put on a sweater that would be great, and limit use of hot water… cold water washing for your laundry, those types of things.”

Last week, Enbridge said they expect the ruptured 36-inch transmission line to be repaired by mid-November, but both the 36 and the 30-inch lines will only be running at 80 per cent capacity until after the winter season.

FortisBC said it’s working on securing additional natural gas from other companies.

“We are actively working to make more gas available for our customers. For example, we’ve worked with TransCanada to maximize output of the Southern Crossing pipeline that feeds into the Interior from Alberta and are actively working with industrial customers to optimize their energy use – keeping them running while minimizing system impacts,” it said.


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