Pacific Northwest gas prices could spike after pipeline explosion


11:24am Updated

The explosion involved an Enbridge natural gas pipeline, according to RCMP, and the gas supply has been shut down.

The company says emergency crews are at the scene and have cordoned off the area.

McTeague said the duration of the spike in prices will depend on the length of time the pipeline is out of service.

The utility is asking customers across the province to "avoid non-essential use of natural gas" as it expects a decrease in energy flow and a potential loss of service for up to 700,000 customers.

"Turn down your thermostat if you are in a cold spot". Turn off your furnace if you can. "Minimize the use of hot water if you have a natural gas hot water tank ... so we preserve the gas we have for as long as possible", said Stout.

Tuesday's explosion affected the two main Enbridge lines used to move gas into FortisBC's gas system to serve customers in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

The natural gas shortage itself affects customers throughout British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

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"Given UBC's geographic location at the end of the line, if Fortis BC runs out of gas, buildings that use natural gas for heating, hot water and cooking will be impacted, beginning as early as this evening, or possibly the morning of October 11", the release reads in part.

He said the blast sounded like a huge rumbling train or low-flying jet passing over his roof.

The incident occurred at around 5:30 p.m. near Landooz Road in the rural community of Shelley, located about 20 kilometres northeast of Prince George.

'Approximately 100 members of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation were evacuated as a precaution following the incident, ' the statement read. There was no damage to anything other than the pipeline, police said, and no one was injured.

Washington State-based Puget Sound Energy is urging its 750,000 customers to lower their thermostats and limit hot water use at least through Wednesday.

In the wake of Tuesday's rupture and fire along the Enbridge pipeline near Prince George, natural gas provide FortisBC is asking customers provincewide to reduce their usage Wednesday (Oct. 10).

The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout. The Pembina line was shut down at points on both sides of the incident, and the company is draining down the line. A few gas stations in the Capital Region bumped prices almost 15 cents per litre to 153.9.

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