Inland Gas Upgrades

About this project

We’re upgrading 29 sections of our existing natural gas lines located in communities in the Northern, Thompson-Okanagan, Cariboo and Kootenay regions of BC. 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 equipment will provide detailed information about the condition of each line which will help us to better plan and manage maintenance work.

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.

Construction overview

Construction activity includes reducing bends in the pipe and replacing fittings so the in-line inspection equipment can move through the gas line. In some areas, this work will require us to replace gas lines and in others, we will install stations to regulate the pressure in our system.

While the vast majority of work will take place on existing rights of way, it could mean construction will take place in your community or surrounding areas.  To stay up-to-date on the project, visit and bookmark our project updates page, or subscribe to our Talking Energy Inland Gas Upgrades newsletter.

2021 construction locations

In 2021 construction will take place in seven communities – two in the Northern Interior and five in the Kootenay region. Preparation work will start as early as April and construction will occur throughout the summer and early fall.

In the Kootenay region we will be working at various locations along our gas lines in the Cranbrook, Kimberley, Elkford, Sparwood and Skookumchuck areas. In the Northern Interior we are returning to Mackenzie and starting upgrades to our existing gas line in Prince George.

The maps below illustrate the approximate work locations in 2021 for these communities. Locations may shift slightly or be subject to change based on construction requirements.

Kootenay region

Cranbrook

Cranbrook work locations map

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Kimberley and Cranbrook

Kimberley work locations map

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Skookumchuck

Skookumchuck work locations map

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Elkford

Elkford work locations map

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Sparwood

Sparwood work locations map

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Northern Interior

Prince George

Prince George work locations map

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Mackenzie

Mackenzie work locations map

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Where we are working in 2021

Work on the Inland Gas Upgrades project will take place in seven communities in 2021. In the Kootenay region we will be working at various locations along our gas lines in the Cranbrook, Kimberley, Elkford, Sparwood and Skookumchuck areas. In the Northern Interior we are returning to Mackenzie and starting upgrades to our existing gas line in Prince George. 

The majority of the work will be to reconfigure sections of our gas lines – such as straightening bends – to ensure in-line inspection equipment can easily pass through and gather information about the condition of our gas lines.

We expect to start preparation work as early as April with construction occurring throughout the summer and early fall. 

To find out more information about this project, please visit the project Overview page. If you are interested in getting further project updates please sign up for our Talking Energy Inland Gas Upgrades project newsletter.

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Upcoming field work in the North, Interior, and Kootenay regions

As part of our early work on the Inland Gas Upgrades project, we will be assessing and investigating potential work sites in and around several communities this fall. These communities include the Prince George, Salmon Arm, Spallumcheen, Enderby, and Armstrong areas, as well as near Kimberley and Skookumchuck in the East Kootenay. Further exploratory work will extend to areas where gas line construction is currently underway, including Mackenzie, Cranbrook, Elk Valley and the surrounding areas.

This early work will enable us to map out specific sites for future upgrades and will also involve inspecting existing gas lines. At this time, we anticipate minimal-to-no public disruption as a result of these activities.

We are committed to engaging communities as we develop a more detailed understanding of future years’ work. For a project overview, visit the Inland Gas Upgrades page.  Alternatively, you can contact us by phone at 1-855-576- 7225, or by email at inlandgasupgrades@fortisbc.com.

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Construction to begin on major project

FortisBC is beginning construction for this major project in the Mackenzie, Cranbrook, and Sparwood areas. These upgrades will enhance our ability to carry out proactive maintenance on our infrastructure.

Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2020, and continue through the fall of this year. Most work at this time will be rural and largely take place on existing FortisBC rights of way. There will be a small amount of construction next to highways and other public roads. In these cases area residents may see our traffic control personnel as they work to minimize any potential impacts. Overall, we expect to be in the Mackenzie and Cranbrook areas for approximately three years during seasonal construction windows, and in the Sparwood area over approximately five years during seasonal windows as work moves north within the Elk Valley.

For maps that indicate work site locations this year, see our project overview page.

For the project as a whole, upgrades will occur across 18 communities in the Northern, Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan, and Kootenay regions of B.C. We look forward to keeping communities informed on future upgrades across these regions.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 inlandgasupgrades@fortisbc.com.

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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 inlandgasupgrades@fortisbc.com.

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Our Commitment

We’re committed to engaging with Indigenous groups, local communities and other stakeholders as we move forward with construction work on the Inland Gas Upgrades. We’re also committed to supporting those communities where we live and work. One way we’re doing this is by hiring local businesses and workers.

Investing Locally

Giving back to communities where our projects take place is important to us. One of the ways we do this is by supporting local businesses and workers. Here are some of the local companies we’ve had the opportunity to work with to date. We look forward to identifying more opportunities as the project progresses.

Nupqu

Owned by the Indigenous communities that make up the Ktunaxa Nation, Nupqu has grown from a forestry company to one that offers a variety of resource management services, able to take on large-scale project work.

That includes providing environmental field training for its staff and partnering with complimentary service providers, including businesses within the Ktunaxa network. Learn more about Nupqu and their work on our Inland Gas Upgrades project.

Duz Cho Group of Companies

Duz Cho Construction is one of a group of companies owned by the McLeod Lake Indian Band. Its inclusive, supportive training style, with an emphasis on mentorship, has promoted loyalty among its team of skilled workers, and a willingness to pass their knowledge on to the next generation. Its many skilled services include road building, civil construction, site development and environmental and reclamation services for a variety of industries.

Learn more about Duz Cho and their work on our Inland Gas Upgrades project.

Communities where work will take place

Over the course of the project, work will take place across 18 communities in the Northern, Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan and Kootenay regions of BC. To see where we are working in 2021, visit our project Overview page.

Kootenays

  • Castlegar
  • Cranbrook
  • Elkford
  • Kimberley
  • Nelson
  • Sparwood
  • Trail

Thompson-Okanagan

  • Armstrong
  • Coldstream
  • Enderby
  • Kamloops
  • Kelowna
  • Salmon Arm
  • Spallumcheen

Cariboo and North

  • Mackenzie
  • Prince George
  • Quesnel
  • Williams Lake

What is the purpose of the Inland Gas Upgrades project?

We’re upgrading 29 sections of our existing natural gas lines located in communities in the Northern, Thompson-Okanagan, Cariboo and Kootenay regions of BC. 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.

Where is the project taking place?

Over the course of the project, work will take place across 18 communities in the Northern, Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan and Kootenay regions of BC. Check out our current work locations in the Overview tab.

How long will this project take?

Construction began in 2020. Work across several communities will continue in the years ahead and details will be provided as the project progresses. We anticipate all work will be complete by 2024. 

We first identified the need for these upgrades in 2014 and since that time, we’ve completed the preliminary planning, assessments and consultation needed to seek approval to move forward. 

We submitted an application to our regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) in 2018, and received approval in January 2020.

How will this project benefit local communities?

The Inland Gas Upgrades project, combined with our ongoing gas line inspection and maintenance activities, will allow us to continue to provide safe, reliable service to 18 communities throughout BC for many years to come. 

We work hard every day to give back to the communities we serve and help them grow. The Inland Gas Upgrades project provides benefits to local and Indigenous communities by engaging local businesses and services and partnering with community groups to fund community projects and improvements. Check out some examples of how we’re supporting local communities on this project in the Community tab.

How do you protect the environment during this work?

We aim to reduce our environmental impact at every stage of a project. For example, whenever possible, we work within existing rights-of-way to minimize our environmental footprint. 

The Inland Gas Upgrades project crosses a variety of landscapes so there are many different environmental concerns that may arise from location to location. We work closely with environmental professionals to understand all of the sensitivities in our working areas. 

When possible we adjust our plans to avoid sensitive environmental areas. For example, we avoided disturbing an osprey nest in Mackenzie by waiting until the birds had fledged before moving into that area. We have also adjusted temporary workspaces to avoid registered archaeological sites in Fording and Cranbrook. 

Once construction is underway we require our contractor to employ environmental monitors for their work and conduct our own environmental auditing to ensure compliance with legislation and permits at every stage of the project.

How can I stay updated on the project?

We’ll keep this project website updated with the latest news as the project progresses. You can also sign up for our Talking Energy Inland Gas Upgrades newsletter here.

Who do we contact if we have questions about the project?

If you have any questions about the project we’ll be happy to help. Please call us at 1-855-576-7225 or email inlandgasupgrades@fortisbc.com.

As a contractor and/or vendor, how can I express interest in working on this project?

If you are interested in providing goods or services to this project, please complete our procurement form.

Do you engage with residents, local government and Indigenous communities on the project?

We have dedicated Community Relations and Indigenous Relations team members responsible for ongoing engagement with local governments and Indigenous communities who hold interest in the areas of the Inland Gas Upgrades project. 

We're committed to developing mutually beneficial working relationships with all affected residents, municipalities, stakeholders and Indigenous communities in the vicinity of our construction and addressing any feedback or questions that may arise. Engagement started years before construction began and will continue throughout the duration of the project.

Why is FortisBC still investing in natural gas instead of exploring cleaner energy solutions?

Natural gas plays an important role in moving BC towards a lower-carbon future. We’re focused on keeping this affordable energy available for our customers, while lowering the carbon footprint of natural gas by increasing the amount of carbon neutral Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) in our system, and exploring the possibilities of adding hydrogen gas to our system. RNG is interchangeable with conventional natural gas. It’s injected into our natural gas distribution system, reducing the amount of conventional natural gas needed.

We’re aiming to produce 15 per cent of our natural gas supply with RNG and hydrogen by 2030. Sustainable energy sources like renewable gases will play a big part in helping us meet our 30BY30 target to reduce our customers’ greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent by 2030. Check out more about what we’re doing to partner for climate action.

How much will this project cost?

We anticipate this project will cost approximately $360 million. This will result in an increase to the typical residential customer's bill of about $16.00 per year – or approximately $1.30 per month – at the end of the project. 

How can I connect my home to natural gas?

This project will upgrade our gas lines to allow us to use up-to-date in-line inspection equipment. These upgrades do not provide natural gas to new communities.

However, we can help you check if natural gas is available to you and how to connect to our service. If you do not currently have access to natural gas, connecting a gas line to your home may be subject to some fees. Costs are dependent on a few factors such as the location of your property and distance to the nearest gas main. For more information about connecting to natural gas please phone 1-888-224-2710 or check out what you need to know about getting natural gas service.

Why and how is work continuing during a pandemic?

As an essential service, we’re continuing to move projects forward that support the energy needs of our customers while adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. These upgrades are part of this critical work, so we can continue providing the reliable service residents and businesses count on.

Safety is at the heart of everything we do. While working in the community, our crews will continue to take appropriate physical distancing measures to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of area residents.

On the rare occasion physical distancing isn’t possible, our crews will have access to additional personal protective equipment such as respiratory, eye and hand protection, to further reduce the risk of infection.

Is this project regulated by the BC Utilities Commission?

The Inland Gas Upgrades project is subject to regulation by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) as well as the BC Oil and Gas Commission.

We submitted an application to our regulator, the BCUC, in 2018 and received approval in January 2020.