FortisBC asks B.C. customers to continue reducing use of natural gas after Enbridge pipeline explosion

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      A ruptured pipeline in north-central B.C. is having consequences across the province.

      This evening, FortisBC asked its customers to continue curtailing their use of natural gas "as much as possible".

      This includes turning off their thermostats and curbing use of appliances powered by natural gas.

      "We recognize that in some parts of B.C. it may be impractical to turn off thermostats due to cold weather," the company states on its website. "Even turning the temperature down as much as possible and reducing hot water use and other natural gas usage will help. Thank you for your patience and support as we work to maintain service."

      Video: FortisBC vice president Doug Stout says customers reduced demand through its system is down by 20 percent today.

      The problems originated when an Enbridge pipeline exploded late yesterday afternoon.

      Nobody was injured, but flames were seen shooting high into the air about 13.5 kilometres from Prince George.

      About 100 members of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation were evacuated.

      There continues to be an evacuation zone extending one kilometre from the site of the rupture.

      "This pipeline was shut down, and an adjacent pipeline was shut down as well as a precaution," Fortis BC says. "These pipelines are the main lines through which natural gas moves into FortisBC’s system, so we’re anticipating decreased energy flow and potential loss of service temporarily."

      The senior petroleum analyst for, Dan McTeague, predicted over Twitter that the ruptured natural-gas line will soon lead to higher gasoline prices at the pump.

      That's because refineries in Washington state are going to have to "scramble" to find new sources of power.