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BC steps up to turn down the heat

by Nicole Brown
November 28, 2018

Energy efficiency, Natural gas

We asked and BC responded. When natural gas supply became limited last month following the rupture of an Enbridge transmission line, we had to ask our customers to reduce their natural gas use and the response has been tremendous.

“With our deep roots in communities across the province, we already have a healthy appreciation for the community spirit that exists here,” said Doug Stout, vice president, market development and external relations, FortisBC. “But we are truly overwhelmed and thankful for all the tremendous support we’ve received from customers, both large and small.”

Cities, schools and business organizations have all taken steps to conserve and we’re hearing about more plans to step up conservation efforts through the coldest months ahead.

All of these actions add up. Right now, the region overall is short 15 to 20 per cent natural gas supply and natural gas is supply expected to be limited for the remainder of winter. Conservation efforts now allow us to maintain storage levels so it’s available on those coldest days we typically see mid-December through January.

Below is just a sampling of the many great actions taking place across the province.

We’re grateful for all ongoing efforts to conserve and we’d like to know what you’re doing, too. Please share with us by tagging @fortisbc on your posts and include the hashtag #ReduceYourUse. We’re looking forward to following along with all the great work.

Saving at cities, communities and regional districts

As soon as the call went out, building managers in cities across the province took action by lowering the temperatures and shortening the heating cycles in their buildings and facilities, from city halls to swimming pools. Just a few of the notable savers include Abbotsford, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Prince George and Kelowna.

“We took a look at our own operations buildings first and public facilities second,” explained Martin Johanssen, manager, building services, City of Kelowna. “We also took a close look at any of our non-essential loads.”

For example, the natural gas fire pit that traditionally warms up skaters at Kelowna’s Stuart Park rink will remain off this winter to conserve natural gas for more critical uses.

Communities are also sharing information about the need to save with their citizens. In fact, posters are available on our Community conservation resources page that provide easy ways for our customers to conserve natural gas. While individual savings may be small, collectively these add up to significant amounts of natural gas that can keep homes warm and businesses working.


Cool schools

Energy managers at school districts and post-secondary institutions were among the first to answer the call for conservation. They immediately set to work by reducing temperatures on campuses and asking their students to bundle up.

The Richmond School District not only lowered the temperature in their approximately 50 buildings, but also sent materials to their teachers and students about the need to conserve and reached out to all the energy managers at school districts across the province to encourage them to do the same. The Vancouver School Board also sent letters to all of their principals to encourage them to participate.

BC’s post-secondary institutions also took action. EnergyWise, the network of post-secondary energy managers in BC, continue to coordinate their efforts and have additional plans in place to encourage conservation. We’re looking forward to seeing these plans in action in the new year.

Thi Nguyen and Poroshat Assadian, Richmond School District, have been extremely helpful in encouraging conservation and we’re grateful for
their ongoing efforts and the efforts of all our customers to reduce where possible.

The business of conserving

Business organizations have also stepped in to help share the information with their members from across the province. Both the BC Chamber of Commerce and LandlordBC spread the word to their members in their recent newsletters. The Business Improvement Areas of BC continues to be very proactive in sharing the message with their 53 member organizations. They’ve updated their website with the information, put out multiple posts on their social media channels and even updated their Facebook and web page cover photos to help encourage their members to conserve.


Thank you to all of our customers who are continuing to conserve where possible. For more news and updates about this ongoing situation, visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Related link

BC’s natural gas supply may be limited this winter, reducing your use will help