(Canadian Press)

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

The blast forced about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T’enneh First Nation from their homes

FortisBC is warning its one million customers across the province that they could lose natural gas services following an pipeline rupture in Prince George Tuesday night.

Police say the explosion along an Enbridge natural gas pipeline sparked a massive fire at about 5:30 p.m. in Shelley, about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George, forcing about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T’enneh First Nation from their homes.

The pipeline is part of the Westcoast Transmission System, transporting natural gas produced in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to consumers in B.C. and, through interconnecting pipelines, other Canadian provinces and the United States.

FortisBC and Puget Sound Energy are now asking customers to conserve natural gas and electricity – including lowering thermostats and limiting hot water use.

“We are anticipating decreased energy flow and potential loss of service to some gas customers,” FortisBC said, adding a dip in service could impact 70 per cent of its total customers.

Currently Fortis has reserves still 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., said Doug Stout, FortisBC vice-president of external relations.

FortisBC is looking to add to its supply by bringing in gas through the TransCanada line from Alberta and activating its two B.C. liquefied natural gas plants, the Tilbury Island facility in Delta and the Mt. Hayes facility near Ladysmith.

The company has also talked to industrial customers about switching to alternative fuel sources.

Fortis expected to receive updates on the situation as Transportation Safety Board investigators and National Energy Board inspectors arrived to assess the damage and attempt to determine a cause.

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

READ MORE: VIDEO – Pipeline explosion causes evacuation near Prince George

On Tuesday night, homes within several kilometres were placed under an evacuation order as a precuation, police said, but have since been given some the go-ahead to return home. An evacuation order is still in effect around a one-kilomtre radius.

No one was injured, according to RCMP. The gas supply has been shut off.

It remains unclear what caused the explosion.

National Energy Board spokesman Tom Neufeld said the fire was along Enbridge’s Westcoast main line, which falls under the board’s jurisdiction.

“NEB inspectors have been deployed to this area. They’re going to monitor and oversee the company’s response to the incident, and they’re going to determine the impact and extent of the fire and release,” Neufeld said.

With files from The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Funding changes mean closure for Success By 6

B.C. making major changes to early childhood development funding

Back to work for Penticton businesses impacted by bomb threats

Multiple car dealerships were evacuated as the result of an international e-mail hoax

Two men arrested in Lower Similkameen on outstanding warrants

RCMP had a busy Sunday making three big arrests related to the Keremeos area

Okanagan College unlocks time capsule

Items placed in 1993 and kept in capsule in library opened at special ceremony

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Avalanche control scheduled tomorrow on Highway 1 east of Revelstoke

Avalanche control work is scheduled along Highway 1 on Dec 15. From… Continue reading

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms last stage of $381 million project

Most Read