FortisBC says work to restore gas service will continue into weekend

The utility company, which distributes gas to about one million B.C. locations, said that until the damaged 36-inch gas line in Prince George is repaired, gas supply will continue to be constrained

FortisBC customers will have to continue limiting their use of natural gas into the weekend, as the process of restoring gas service to industrial customers is underway following an explosion along the Enbridge gas line in northern B.C. this week.

The utility company, which distributes gas to about one million B.C. locations, said in a statement Friday that until the damaged 36-inch gas line in Prince George is repaired, gas supply will continue to be constrained throughout the province.

Its now in the works of contacting those who own and operate large, multi-family high-rises.

“We’re asking everyone to continue holding off on any non-essential uses of natural gas and we’ll be in touch with our industrial customers who cut back and working with them to get them back on in the next while,” Doug Stout, Fortis BC vice-president of external relations, said in a statement.

The Enbridge gas line rupture and ensuing fire ball happened Tuesday evening in Shelley, about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George. It forced about 100 residents of the nearby Lheidli T’enneh First Nation from their homes.

Enbridge’s smaller line was also shut down as a precautionary measure following the incident, but began flowing again early Thursday morning. Roughly 85 per cent of the gas FortisBC feeds to homes and businesses is carried by the twinned pipeline that runs from northern B.C. to the United States border south of Vancouver.

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

READ MORE: Northern B.C. pipeline explosion not criminal in nature

The line was shut down while Enbridge worked to restore gas flow through the pipeline.

Several major industries and institutions responded by switching energy sources, reducing operations or shutting down temporarily.

Tolko Industries Ltd. closed its Kamloops-area plywood plant and reduced operations at sawmills near Quesnel and Williams Lake.

The B.C. Institute of Technology reduced heat to a portion of the classrooms on its Burnaby campus while the University of B.C. advised researchers and other non-essential users to immediately stop using natural gas.

The university said Thursday that its buildings are no longer affected by reduced gas supplies.

The Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the cause of the explosion, supported by teams of investigators from Enbridge and the National Energy Board.

On Thursday, the RCMP announced it had ruled out criminal activity in the incident.

With files from The Canadian Press


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