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Customers urged to conserve natural gas use as winter nears

One way to curtail natural gas use is to set the thermostat no higher than 20°C.

FortisBC said the energy company is monitoring natural gas consumption following a pipeline explosion earlier this month near Prince George, BC, with a goal to keep homes warm as customers head into the colder, winter months.

Sean Beardow, Manager, Corporate Communications, said FortisBC is working to ensure that all of our customers continue to have access to the natural gas they need.

“Keeping our residential customers online is our top priority,” Beardow told The Nelson Daily. “Controlling demand for natural gas is still the single most important factor in ensuring the stability of the gas system and that’s why we’re encouraging our customers to conserve natural gas wherever possible and limit it to essential uses.”

The Enbridge pipeline exploded and caught fire 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George on October 9.

The explosion ruptured a 91-centirmetre natural gas pipeline but did not damage the adjacent smaller pipeline that is now a limited supply of natural gas to approximately one millions BC customers.

In a recent statement, National Energy Board ordered Enbridge to limit natural gas flows to 80 per cent pressure levels in the pipeline from the blast site along the entire length of the pipeline up Canada USA border, as a safety measure to protect people and the environment. The 2,900-kilometre pipeline extends from Fort Nelson in B.C.’s northeast to the U.S. border.

Beardow said with these limitations being placed on the line, conservation efforts and potential curtailment of natural gas to industry will need to continue through the winter.

“The biggest factor on protecting our gas supply over the winter will be limiting demand as much as possible,” Beardow said.

“Conservation will play a key role as will weather,” Beardow adds. “As demand rises and falls, our team will work to ensure that our customers have access to the natural gas they need to the best of our abilities.”

Beardow said FortisBC will continue to update customers regularly on the status of natural gas throughout the winter and will inform British Columbians of any forecasted increase in demand and how they can best conserve in these critical times.

Some ways to curtail natural gas use include:

Turn off Th​ermostat: 

  • We recognize that in some parts of B.C. it may be impractical to turn off thermostats completely due to cold weather. Where possible we’re asking customers to set your thermostat no higher than 20°C.

Wear a​ sweater:

  • The simplest way to stay warm is to reach for a sweater instead of the thermostat. If you’re still cold, blankets and socks are a great way to insulate you against the chill.

Heat only the rooms ​you’re in:

  • Close warm air supply registers, or turn off the thermostat for baseboard heaters, in rooms you’re not using. Avoid heating non-insulated spaces such as a garage, crawl space, attic or storage shed. 

Take shorte​r showers:

  • Using less hot water will help conserve our natural gas supply. Limit daily showers to five minutes and you’ll save water and reduce your natural gas use. 

Dishwasher:

  • Use the energy​-saving mode when your dishes are less dirty.
  • Wash at full loads only to save water.

Clothes washer/dryer:  

  • Wash laundry in cold water. 
  • Always wash full loads to help save energy.
  • Use lower heat settings on your natural gas dryer, such as permanent press.