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Keeping the natural gas network safe, every day

by Paul Chernikhowsky
September 20, 2018

Safety, Natural gas

In light of recent events, our customers may have questions about the safety of BC's own natural gas network.

We want to reassure our customers of our commitment to the wellbeing of our customers, our neighbours, our employees and the environment. We have rigorous safety standards, measures and practices in place to protect public safety and to ensure the ongoing integrity of our system. 

Words like “safety” and “reliability” may be used so frequently they can begin to lose meaning. But events like this, though rare, are a reminder of why safety is, and must remain, our top priority every day.

Here’s just a few of the ways we work to constantly maintain the safety of our system: 

  • We review our system on an ongoing basis and each year we make significant investments in upgrading and replacing parts of our system in adherence to codes and standards, in addition to carrying out regular maintenance. 
  • We monitor our system 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and conduct regular inspections of our natural gas system to prevent any potential risk to our lines and take all possible steps to ensure the system and surrounding areas are well-protected. 
  • Our employees take part in emergency response training throughout the year in cooperation with local authorities, including police and fire departments.

System upgrades underway in Vancouver, Surrey and Coquitlam will ensure continued safe, reliable service for these growing communities.

Integrity Management is the concept of ensuring our gas system assets are suitable for the continued safe, environmentally responsible and reliable service throughout an asset’s life-cycle. At FortisBC, our Integrity Management Program is designed to ensure compliance with applicable legislation, company policies and codes of practice. To that end, we have stringent policies in place to guide our activities, such as our Safety and Environment Policy and our Integrity Management Policy.

And as a result of rigorous adherence to safe practices and our commitment to safety, our transmission and distribution system has provided safe, reliable service to our customers for more than 60 years. 

Crews in Penticton launch inspection equipment into the line to capture for detailed information about its condition. We’re planning upgrades to 29 other sections of our natural gas system across the interior of BC to accommodate similar inspection methods.

While we’re proud of our record, we constantly look to improve the system to make sure it will continue to provide the safe, reliable energy our customers can rely on into the future. We will watch the investigation into this incident with interest to see if any of our current practices can be further improved.

If you have questions and would like more information, we encourage you to get in touch.

Yours in safety,

Paul Chernikhowsky

Director, Integrity Management & Damage Prevention