Okanagan Capacity Upgrade
The Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project is driven by the increasing demand we are facing as a result of regional growth. FortisBC’s infrastructure is vital to the delivery of renewable and low-carbon gases, which are critical to the province’s ability to meet its CleanBC targets.
Growing demand for energy in the Okanagan region
The Okanagan is one of the fastest-growing regions by population in British Columbia and is home to approximately 110,000 FortisBC customers who rely on our natural gas service every day. Based on forecasts of continued growth, there is an immediate need to address an imminent capacity shortfall in the region, so we can meet our customers’ energy needs now, and well into the future.
Project timelines and next steps
We filed our initial application for the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade Project with our regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) on November 16, 2020. We received the BCUC's decision on December 22, 2023, which included direction to examine potential short-term solutions and develop a mitigation plan to be filed for review by July 31, 2024. Updates on this process will be provided as they become available.
February 13, 2024
Mitigation plan under development following BCUC decision
In accordance with the BCUC’s decision on the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade Project, FortisBC is currently developing a mitigation plan to address an imminent capacity shortfall in the Okanagan region. The plan will examine potential short-term solutions to ensure customers’ energy demands are met in the event of a one in 20-year cold weather event occurring in the 2026/27 winter or subsequent period. FortisBC must file the plan with the BCUC by July 31, 2024. Updates on this process will be provided as they become available.
December 22, 2023
Statement regarding BCUC decision on the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade Project
We have received and are reviewing the BCUC’s decision, but we are disappointed that our application to develop this important piece of infrastructure has been denied. The Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project is required to meet peak energy demand in the Okanagan region, which occurs during colder winter months when customers rely on gas to heat their homes and businesses.
FortisBC’s infrastructure is vital to the delivery of renewable and low-carbon gases, which are critical to the Province’s ability to meet its CleanBC targets.
May 29, 2023
Field activities resuming
Our crews will be resuming field activities along the project’s proposed right of way in June 2023. The first activities will include environmental and archeological surveys which will involve crews walking along the right of way. The archeological sweep will not require excavations, however small shovel sampling may occur.
You can find out the latest project information here.
April 26, 2021
Upcoming survey work along the proposed route
Starting April 26, our crews will be working along the proposed gas line route to gather survey information that supports engineering design, construction and environmental work. This work does not require excavation or ground disturbance, and will assist in the final construction design of the gas line.
November 16, 2020
Major step forward for the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project
Today marks a major step forward as we file our project application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with our regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). The Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project will meet growing natural gas demand in the Okanagan region by adding capacity through approximately 30 kilometers of new gas line.
While preparing to submit our application, we’ve been engaging local governments, Indigenous communities, landowners, and area residents to share details on the project and obtain feedback.
We’re pleased to be one step closer to ensuring our natural gas system keeps pace with growth in the Okanagan. If approved, we anticipate construction will take place between 2022 and 2023.
To learn more about the BCUC process and how you can get involved, visit bcuc.com.
September 30, 2020
Wildfire delays some early engineering work
Due to the Christie Mountain wildfire in August, we experienced some work delays along our proposed route in the Penticton Creek area. Activities on the southern side of the creek resumed shortly after the wildfire was brought under control. However, in early October we will be conducting some 24-hour activity on the northern side of Penticton Creek to make up for lost time.
We expect to complete the 24-hour work within approximately one week. Those in the Sendero Canyon neighbourhood may experience some small vibration and noise levels during this activity. We appreciate the community’s patience as we complete this work safely, quickly and with as minimal disruption as possible.
We anticipate all of the above work will be completed by mid-October.
July 31, 2020
Early works along the route
We will be conducting some early engineering work along the proposed route in August, as we prepare to submit our application for this project.
In the Penticton Creek area, work will start the week of August 10, 2020. Our crews will be evaluating the ground and soil conditions to help determine the best construction method to cross the creek. In this area, residents in the Sendero Canyon neighbourhood may notice some larger equipment and machinery. We anticipate a degree of small vibration and noise levels comparable to normal construction. This work will occur over approximately four weeks from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Other work taking place will involve small digs along sections of the proposed route and within our existing rights of way, including in the Mount Campbell area and nearby to Smethhurst, Arawana Forestry, and Chute Lake roads. This work will occur in early August, over approximately one day in each location.
We appreciate the community’s patience as we complete this work safely, and as quickly as possible.
April 15, 2020
FortisBC proposes new gas line project to meet Okanagan growth
Today, FortisBC Energy Inc. (“FortisBC”) is announcing the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project, an expansion of our natural gas system in the Okanagan. As we adapt together to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, FortisBC is continuing to advance critical projects, such as this upgrade, to support the everyday energy needs of customers and communities.
The Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project is driven by the increasing demand we will be facing in the region over the next five years. It proposes 30 kilometres of new gas line that would connect to our system along Penticton’s eastern border and extend north towards Chute Lake. This extension will add crucial capacity that will meet demand both now, and well into the future.
The project is still in the early planning stages, as FortisBC prepares an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to our regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission. The application is expected to be filed this year.
If approved, the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project would:
- Strengthen our system for approximately 90,000 homes and businesses in the Okanagan that rely on our natural gas service every day
- Meet growth in regional demand, with some communities expected to grow by up to 40 per cent in the next 20 years
- Begin construction as early as 2021 and be operational by 2023
As we navigate the current public health emergency, FortisBC is committed to ongoing opportunities for meaningful engagement with local governments, Indigenous communities, and residents as we progress towards our CPCN application. Opportunities for upcoming engagement include two telephone town halls on April 30 and May 6, 2020.
To learn more about the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project, including details on the upcoming telephone town halls, visit the project webpage at talkingenergy.ca/okanagan. Alternatively, interested parties can connect with us at 1-888-592-7704 or by email at [email protected].
April 15, 2020
Telephone town halls
We’re hosting two telephone town halls as part of our community engagement on the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade Project. These town halls will be an opportunity for the community to learn more about the project, get their questions answered and provide feedback.
There will be a short presentation about the project at the top of every hour.
Can’t join us for a town hall?
Ask us a question or provide your feedback by phone or email.
Call us at 1-888-592-7704
Email us at [email protected]
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Partnering with communities
We’re committed to the South Okanagan and are pleased to be active in these communities where we live and work. In addition to regularly engaging residents and Indigenous communities on our services and energy infrastructure, we’re committed to investing in and supporting the region in a variety of ways.
This includes contributing to, and participating in, local community events such as the Pow Wow Between the Lakes event in Penticton—a celebration of the culture and traditions of the Syilx (Okanagan) people. We’ve also supported community projects such as the Three Blind Mice Trails Improvement Project—an initiative headed by the Penticton and Area Cycling Association to develop, maintain and improve safety on mountain bike trails in the region.
We filed our initial application with our regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), on November 16, 2020. We received the BCUC’s decision on December 22, 2023, which included direction to examine potential short-term solutions and develop a mitigation plan to be filed for review July 31, 2024