Natural gas pipeline pitched by Fortis B.C. Energy to meet future growth in Okanagan - InfoNews

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Natural gas pipeline pitched by Fortis B.C. Energy to meet future growth in Okanagan

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
April 16, 2020 - 12:50 PM

A new natural gas line in the South Okanagan is being proposed as Fortis B.C. Energy Inc. sees increasing consumer demand.

Fortis made the announcement yesterday, April 15, in a press release, proposing a 30-kilometre gas line connecting to the utility's existing system along Penticton’s eastern border and extending north towards Chute Lake.

The project is in early planning stages with an application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission to be filed later this year.

The Okanagan Capacity Upgrade project would strengthen the company's existing system of pipelines servicing 90,000 homes and businesses in the Okanagan, as well as meeting growth in demand. The utility believes some communities could see up to 40 per cent growth over the next two decades.

If approved, construction would begin in early 2021 for completion by 2023.

Fortis spokesperson Grace Peach said the proposal will not provide new service to customers currently without access to gas, but will provide additional capacity for the projected growth expected in the region.

The proposed upgrade isn’t being affected by the current economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Peach said.

“We’re regularly monitoring our capacity and mirroring that with the projected growth for the various regions we serve," she said in the release.

"This was something we identified a while ago as something that needed to be addressed in the next five years in order to continue to strengthen our services. The region is going to growing in the next ten to twenty-fie years, and obviously our assets are in the ground for quite a while, so we’re planning to make sure the community has the energy it needs as it continues to grow.”

The utility is planning two telephone town hall meetings on April 30 and May 6 to allow the public to ask questions and provide feedback.

Proposed route of a 30 km gas pipeline along the east side of the Okanagan Valley.
Proposed route of a 30 km gas pipeline along the east side of the Okanagan Valley.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Fortis BC Energy Inc.

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