Inland Gas Upgrades
About this project
We’re planning to upgrade 29 sections of our existing natural gas lines located in communities in the Northern, Thompson-Okanagan, Cariboo and Kootenay regions of BC.
Why we’re upgrading these lines
All of these lines have an excellent record for both safety and reliability, even the many that have been in operation since the 1950s. These upgrades, combined with our ongoing inspection and maintenance activities, will make sure these lines continue to provide safe, reliable service for many years to come. In many cases, these upgrades will allow us to inspect the inside of the gas lines using up-to-date in-line inspection equipment. This inspection method provides detailed information about the condition of each line and will allow us to better plan and manage maintenance work.
Work in your community
Some of this work will require us to upgrade lines to reduce bends and replace fittings that could block the in-line inspection equipment. In some cases, this work will require us to replace gas lines. In other cases, we will regulate the pressure in sections of our system. While the vast majority of this work will take place on existing rights of way, it could mean construction will take place in your community or surrounding areas. We are committed to engaging with communities we serve and keeping our customers informed during every step of this process.
Project timelines and next steps
We first identified the need for these upgrades in 2014 and since that time, have worked to complete the preliminary planning, assessments and consultation needed to seek approval to move forward. We submitted an application to our regulator, the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) in 2018, and received approval in January 2020.
We anticipate construction work on our gas lines in the first phase of this project to take place in these timelines and in the following communities:
- Mackenzie – 2020-2022
- Cranbrook – 2020-2022
- Sparwood and Elkford – 2020-2024
We look forward to proceeding with this significant investment into our natural gas system. We expect the total cost to be an estimated $360 million and the average rate impacts over the course of the project to be minimal.
Preparation activities in Mackenzie, Cranbrook and Sparwood
We are preparing for our first phase of construction in and around the Mackenzie, Cranbrook, and Sparwood areas this summer. In order to create the space and access needed for our contractors and materials, we will be undertaking some preparation activities. These may include surveying and vegetation clearing; fence and scrap removal; and road access improvements. We are also conducting bird surveys throughout these communities, and are committed to carrying out all work in an environmentally responsible manner. Most of this work will be in rural areas and will take place in June and early July.
With safety at the core of everything we do, we are actively monitoring the developments around COVID-19. If you see our workers or contractors in the field, they are working to ensure that your home and community will continue to receive the energy it depends on safely and reliably, for years to come.
Inland Gas Upgrades receive BCUC approval
Today, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to FortisBC to move forward with our Inland Gas Upgrades project. This project will enhance our ability to carry out proactive maintenance on our gas system by enabling the use of in-line inspection technology. Work will occur in 18 communities, from Mackenzie to southern B.C. and the Kootenays, with the vast majority of work taking place within existing rights of way. This project will ensure our natural gas lines continue to provide safe, reliable service for many years to come.
The first phase of construction is anticipated to begin this year, including work in proximity to Mackenzie, Cranbrook, Sparwood and Elkford. As the project progresses, we will continue to provide updates to the communities where work will occur.
Major milestone achieved
After years of planning, assessments and consultation, we’ve submitted an application for approval to our regulator, the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) in December 2018.
This project will represent a significant investment into BC’s natural gas system and we’re pleased to have achieved this major milestone in moving it forward. If approved, we expect work to take place between 2020 and 2024.
Want to know more about the BCUC process and how you can get involved? Find out at bcuc.com.
Dig a little, learn a lot
From now until the end of August, you may see crews working on behalf of FortisBC doing survey and small excavation work around our rights of way in several areas of the province, including in Cranbrook, Skookumchuck, Kimberley and Mackenzie.
This work will help us verify details of the lines that will enable us to continue planning the Inland Gas Upgrades project.
It’s an important and regular part of the work we do, every day, to properly and effectively plan all of our construction projects.
If you have any questions, please call our project phone line at 1-855-576-7225 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exploring rights of way for habitat and heritage
Native species, waterways and heritage sites—these are just a few of the reasons we work with certified professionals to explore potential project sites early on, long before any shovel hits the ground. As part of our planning for the proposed Inland Gas Upgrades, from now until the end of June, our consultants are studying our rights of way in rural and back country areas in many interior regions of BC. Qualified environmental professionals and permitted archaeologists are developing site overviews for each gas line. This work is being done in consultation with local Indigenous communities where possible. If the project is approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission, this information will determine where further study may be needed, what permits will be required and ensure we handle sensitive areas with care. If you have any questions, please call our project phone line at 1-855-576-7225 or email us at email@example.com.
Communities where work will take place
The Inland Gas Upgrades could result in construction work in the following communities and their surrounding areas. The construction will be carefully planned, taking into account feedback from local stakeholders.
- Prince George
- Williams Lake
- Salmon Arm