FortisBC is continually investing in our systems and infrastructure to ensure we remain a safe, reliable energy provider for our customers across British Columbia.
FortisBC Gas Line Upgrades
Our FortisBC Gas Line Upgrades project helps supply more than 210,000 homes and businesses with natural gas. From 2018 to 2020 we upgraded 20 kilometres of gas line in Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver, as well as related facilities. The new gas line became operational in December 2019. The last part of construction to be completed was the Coquitlam facility upgrade in June 2020.
Years before work began on our gas line upgrade, we started engaging with municipalities, businesses, residents and Indigenous communities. While upgrades were underway, we worked with communities every step of the way. To help keep everyone informed about the project, we had more than 14,000 interactions with the community.
Surrey to Coquitlam natural gas line upgrades
In 2017, we upgraded a section of natural gas line between Surrey and Coquitlam. This 11-kilometre upgrade increases the capacity of the gas line, keeps up with growing demand and continues the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to our customers. This backup line runs alongside the existing natural gas line, in the same utility corridor, in both Surrey and Coquitlam. Having a second gas line means that we’re prepared to meet our customers’ natural gas needs, even as communities grow. Site clean-up continued at a few locations throughout 2018 and is now complete.
Waneta Dam Expansion
The project was completed in 2015 by the Waneta Expansion Limited Partnership, a partnership between Fortis Inc., Columbia Power Corporation, and Columbia Basin Trust. Located in the Columbia-Kootenay region, immediately downstream of the Waneta Dam on the Pend d’Oreille River, the expansion at the Waneta Dam generates enough clean, renewable, cost-effective electricity to power about 60,000 homes per year – all from water that would otherwise be spilled. In addition to injecting more than $300 million into the local economy, this project created jobs for more than 1,400 people, including 194 apprenticeships from 13 different trades.
Prince George and Burnaby Call Centres
In 2012, we moved our natural gas customer service team in-house. In addition to creating 300 new BC-based jobs, we built two new service centres in Prince George and Burnaby. In Prince George, four local companies completed the renovations and upgrades while keeping with LEED principles and guidelines.
Fraser River South Arm Crossing Upgrade Project
FortisBC upgraded the natural gas transmission pipelines crossing the Fraser River between Delta and Richmond. The Fraser River South Arm Crossing Upgrade project improved pipeline stability, addressed concerns around the wearing of the pipe in the river, and improved safety and reliability for thousands of customers. The twin pipes provide natural gas service to approximately 220,000 customers in Richmond, Vancouver, North Vancouver City and District, West Vancouver, and parts of Burnaby.
Mt. Hayes LNG Facility
Since completion in 2011 the Mt. Hayes LNG facility has been our natural gas storage facility in BC. What does this mean for our customers? This facility helps keep natural gas costs lower even when demand is high, and it means our customers can keep their heat and stoves on during system interruptions. In 2012, we partnered with the Stz’uminus (Chemainus) First Nation and Cowichan Tribes. Each Nation invested $5.7 million, creating jobs and economic opportunity in their communities. As a result, the region received $70 million in investment, which included sourcing local suppliers for goods and services, direct local employment during construction and 12 full-time operations jobs at the facility.
Okanagan Transmission Reinforcement Project (OTR)
Our largest electricity project was completed in 2011. We increased the reliability of our South Okanagan electrical system by upgrading overhead lines from 161kV to 230kV, between South Vaseux Lake to Oliver and north to Penticton. We also built a new substation in Oliver and upgraded existing substations in Penticton, Vaseux Lake, Oliver and Kelowna. We are pleased to say this project helped support local economic spending, created construction-related jobs and increased the electric reliability for electricity customers.
Whistler Natural Gas Conversion
To help Whistler prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics, we converted the community from an existing propane system to natural gas in 2009, in support of the city’s Sustainable Energy Plan. The addition of a natural gas pipeline was built together with the expansion of the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99). This route reduced environmental impacts and minimized the cost of construction through mountainous terrain. In just 84 days, a team of more than 100 FortisBC employees and contractors retrofitted about 14,000 propane appliances to operate safely on natural gas.
Southern Crossing Natural Gas Project
Completed in 2000, the nearly $400-million Southern Crossing Natural Gas Project allowed us to increase access to natural gas, and improve the security and reliability of natural gas supply in the province. This was no small project. It involved building more than 300 kms of natural gas pipeline from Yahk to Oliver and upgrades to compressor stations. At any one time, 2,000 British Columbians were working on this project.