Reduce your intake to make it through winter
By Katie Czenczek, News Editor
The Enbridge pipeline explosion happened on October 9, but its effects are still making it difficult to keep homes heated.
Although Enbridge has been given the go-ahead from the National Energy Board to increase their maximum allowable operating pressure by five percent, FortisBC still asks for all British Columbians to turn down the heat. Currently, the natural gas pipeline is able to run at 85 percent—the highest rate it has been since prior to the rupture—but it is still not enough to keep everyone in the province safely heated.
The company is asking that people conserve their heat usage in case of colder-than-normal forecasts this winter season.
As of December 1, the coldest point in BC was Fort Nelson, which has already reached negative temperatures in the double digits in November. As we approach December, these temperatures are likely to drop.
Roger Dall’Antonia, president and CEO of FortisBC, said in a YouTube video why people need to keep reducing their heat usage.
“In the early days [when the pipeline was first ruptured], we saw about a 20 percent reduction in natural gas use, and this helped us maintain service for all of our customers,” he said. “Today, although the pipeline has been repaired, it is operating at a reduced capacity.”
Similar to fire hazard charts all over BC during the summertime, FortisBC has been released a five-day natural gas supply forecast. From November 29 to December 3, BC was in the green zone. The green zone indicates that supplies are still limited, and gas will be taken from storage facilities where needed.
If the province does reach a critical stage, reducing consumption will become necessary provincewide. There won’t be enough gas to meet demand. Commercial and industrial customers will be the first to receive cutbacks on gas temporarily.
If this winter the supply forecast reaches the extreme level, FortisBC may have to completely cut services to commercial and industrial customers, and some residential users may also be affected. Outages may become a possibility as well.
While the company has bought natural gas on the open market, along with shipments of liquified and compressed natural from Alberta, it is still not enough to make up for the gas lost this year.
In order to prevent extreme measures to beat the cold, Dall’Antonia has emphasized the importance of every individual effort toward reducing gas usage.
“As such we can’t afford to see our conservation efforts fade,” he said. “The reality is that we’re not out of the woods yet. Collectively reducing natural gas use will help ensure that there’s enough gas for all of our customers.”