FortisBC gas supply outlook improves
Nov 22, 2018
Conservation still needed to avoid potential service interruptions
SURREY, BC – With our proactive measures to strengthen natural gas supply, continued warmer than average weather, and the recently announced increases in Enbridge’s pipeline operating pressure, FortisBC sees an improving natural gas supply picture for B.C. This is following the October 9 rupture of an Enbridge-owned natural gas transmission line that has been substantially restricting supply for over a month. As the province prepares to enter the two coldest months of the year, however, the need to conserve natural gas is still present.
“Between Enbridge announcing it would raise its maximum allowable operating pressure to 85 per cent and our actions to support our supply by purchasing additional natural gas from the market and maximizing volumes on our Southern Crossing pipeline, we’re in a better position today than we were a week ago,” explained Roger Dall’Antonia, CEO and president of FortisBC, “However, the worst that Mother Nature intends to throw at us is likely ahead of us – not behind us. In order to ensure we have sufficient supply for all of our customers, conservation is still needed.”
On November 17, Enbridge announced that the National Energy Board approved an increase to the maximum allowable operating pressure from 80 per cent to 85 per cent. With this increase, FortisBC’s gas supply, when combined with incremental open market purchases and conservation efforts, will be closer to a typical level of supply for this time of year.
While this is positive news, FortisBC, and the regional gas market as a whole, will still not receive as much gas as it normally expects from the Enbridge transmission system - even at this increased operating pressure. In the event of a prolonged period of colder than average weather, we could find ourselves in a position where demand is outpacing supply. If this imbalance extends over a number of days, it is possible that large-scale industrial and commercial customers would be faced with short-term curtailment.
“We’ve done extensive work, both internally and with the British Columbia Utilities Commission, to prepare for any sort of service disruption,” said Dall’Antonia, “While the risk has decreased, it’s still present until the pipeline returns to normal service. If we work together to conserve natural gas, we can continue to reduce this risk.”
Small conservation steps can make a significant impact collectively. Turning down the thermostat a few degrees and reducing the amount of hot water being used are two simple ways to reduce natural gas use in the home or workplace.
For the most up to date information and more conservation tips, visit BC’s natural gas supply may be limited this winter.
FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity and propane. FortisBC employs approximately 2,300 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,260 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 49,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. For further information visit fortisinc.com.