Published: Thu, October 11, 2018

Pipeline explosion expected to increase prices at the pump

Pipeline explosion expected to increase prices at the pump

As many as 700,000 FortisBC customers could lose their natural gas supply because of the shortage, and gas prices are expected to rise. Turn off your furnace if you can, if you are in Vancouver or a situation where you can do that.

There have been no reports of injuries and the damage was limited to the pipeline itself, Mounties said.

"About 70 per cent of customers could be impacted here", said Douglas Stout, vice-president of external relations with FortisBC.

The Enbridge natural gas pipeline that exploded Tuesday evening is a feeder for the province-wide gas distribution system and, because of this, FortisBC says it anticipates decreased energy flow and potential loss of service.

The RCMP has confirmed that there has been a pipeline explosion in the vicinity of Prince George, B.C. About 85 per cent of gas used in B.C. uses that pipeline.

"Enbridge emergency crews have responded, have isolated and are now depressurizing two natural gas transmission lines in the vicinity to contain the incident", he said. "So we are asking everybody to chip in", said Stout.

"We are asking them to cut back, too, because we can flow some of that gas past them and down here to the Lower Mainland".

The incident was reported at about 5:30PM on Tuesday by the Prince George RCMP and forced the temporary evacuation of residents living along the Shelley Reserve.

Police say residences within several kilometres were evacuated as a precaution, but the evacuation zone has now been reduced to residences within a one kilometre radius of the explosion site.

Washington State-based Puget Sound Energy is urging its 750,000 customers to lower their thermostats and limit hot water use at least through Wednesday.

Fortis now has reserves in the pipeline south of Prince George, in its liquefied natural gas storage tanks in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, and there is some gas flowing from Alberta through a pipeline in southern B.C., he said.

The National Energy Board tweeted that it has sent inspectors to the scene.

The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout.

British Columbia's Ministry of Environment says it has been notified of the incident and that the 900 PSI gas line is operated by Enbridge.'s Dan McTeague said Wednesday the explosion has affected Washington state refineries.

Currently, the price of gas at most stations in Prince George is $130.9 a litre.

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