Gas Pipeline Explosion Could Cause Gas Prices to Spike

Enbridge pipeline ruptures, sparks fire near Prince George

The fiery blast happened Tuesday in Prince George, British Columbia, shutting down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver.

"The duration of the price impact will depend on the length of time that the pipeline is out of service, but it may be at least one to two weeks".

As many as 70 per cent of FortisBC's natural gas customers could be without service following an explosion of a pipeline north of Prince George. The provincial average is $146.1 a litre.

Puget Sound Energy asked its customers in a tweet on Wednesday to conserve natural gas.

Restaurants around the province, on the other hand, are looking at ways of using less natural gas.

The electricity and gas company said the line was carefully checked before it received permission to restart it at about 80 per cent of normal capacity.

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"So turn down your thermostat as low as possible, restrict the use of hot water from your natural gas hot water tank, minimize the use of cooktops and turn off your fireplaces", said Doug Stout, Vice-President of Market and Development and External Relations with FortisBC.

'Enbridge has teams on the ground in the area and has mobilized additional response crews to maintain ongoing safety, ensure the needs of area residents are being met, and support the investigation [into the cause of the explosion]'.

It damaged the company's primary natural gas pipeline linking the Fort Nelson area to Vancouver and south to another 750,000 customers in the northwest United States.

"It's really grown in the last four years or so", he said, noting Fortis has told him they have connected more homes in Victoria in the last year to natural gas than in any other year.

After local gas utility Avista announced that customers would need to conserve natural gas due to a pipeline rupture in British Columbia, Canada, experts believe that the same shortage could hit motorists at the gas pump as well.

Earlier this evening, UBC warned campus residents that the university's geographic position means it could be among the first locations affected by a gas shortage - possibly as early as this evening.

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