UBC issues urgent alert, braces for natural gas shortage after pipeline explosion

The University of British Columbia has issued an urgent emergency community alert for its Point Grey campus, warning that natural gas could be in short supply as early as Wednesday evening.

The alert comes after a gas line explosion near Prince George on Tuesday night, causing two Enbridge pipelines to be shut off.

“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 Oct. 11,” the release reads in part.

“Heat, hot water and cooking equipment are considered essential, but community members are asked to reduce their usage wherever possible. Anyone using natural gas for other purposes, such as research, is asked to take steps immediately to stop that use.”

Further energy cuts needed

The electricity and gas company FortisBC asked all British Columbians to turn down their thermostats and reduce natural gas use on other appliances on Tuesday.

Puget Sound Energy and Cascade Natural Gas, both U.S. energy companies, are also asking customers in Washington state to help conserve natural gas and electricity because of B.C.’s pipeline rupture and the impact it has on the U.S. gas supply.

In an updated statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, FortisBC said there had so far been a reduction in natural gas use of about 20 per cent provincewide, but that further cuts are needed.

“We still need more customers to reduce their natural gas usage as much as possible for now, as we continue to work with Enbridge and confirm the impact on the system,” it read in part.

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