Pipeline explosion near Prince George

700000 Fortis BC customers could lose service after pipeline explosion

After a pipeline explosion took place near Prince George last night, Fortis BC has announced that a massive number of customers could be affected.

Teegee said area Indigenous leaders met Wednesday with Enbridge officials but left the meeting with unanswered questions about pipeline infrastructure.

"Approximately 100 people in the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation in the vicinity have been evacuated as a precaution".

The Westcoast Transmission System transports natural gas produced in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to consumers in B.C. and, through interconnecting pipelines, other Canadian provinces and the United States.

Two Enbridge pipelines are being shut off: the ruptured pipe and another one that's to be assessed for damage.

The province's Ministry of Environment later confirmed the incident involved a 900 PSI gas line operated by Enbridge.

Stout urged another 300,000 customers in the Okanagan and southeastern British Columbia., to conserve even though their natural gas comes from Alberta.

The explosion happened only about two kilometres from the reserve, forcing residents to quickly flee, he said.

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The blast Tuesday shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George.

RCMP confirm a pipeline explosion is to blame for a large fire that burned 13 kilometres north of Prince George.

"Anybody who consumes natural gas, we're asking you to cut back to as little as possible and help us work through this situation to everybody's benefit", Stout said.

Puget Sound Energy asked its customers in a tweet on Wednesday to conserve natural gas. "Health-care facilities are considered among the highest priorities for Fortis B.C. We have not been contacted or asked to reduce our usage at this time, which would be standard practice through our agreement with the company", she said.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is investigating the cause of the blast and it is unclear how long it will be before the system is restored.

He said Enbridge recognizes the impact the explosion could have on customers, but the company can't speculate when the gas will start flowing again.

The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout.

"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.

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