Increased use of BC One Call leads to fewer pipeline damages

Fewer pipelines hit in 2010, but 99 per cent of incidents still preventable

SURREY, BC, April 28 /CNW/ - Safe excavation awareness programs have continued to help increase the number of calls to BC One Call, which in turn has led to a nine per cent decrease in construction-related damages to FortisBC's natural gas pipelines in 2010.

"We support the use of BC One Call, as history has shown that the best way to avoid causing damage to underground gas pipelines during any excavation is to first call BC One Call to request mapping information and then carefully hand dig to expose the buried gas lines. April has been designated as Safe Digging Month by the Government of Canada, and we want to continue reminding British Columbians to 'Call Before You Dig' in the interest of their own and the public's safety," said Dwain Bell, vice president, operations (natural gas), FortisBC.

While there has been an encouraging decrease in the number of construction-related pipeline damages in 2010, approximately 1,300 gas lines were still damaged (versus about 1,400 in 2009) as some excavators did not call BC One Call to obtain the location of gas lines and follow safe excavation practices. All excavation should be preceded by hand digging, prior to using any mechanical excavation equipment like an auger or a backhoe, as required by provincial regulations.

New provincial regulations also require excavators to obtain permission from FortisBC for any digging activities occurring within 40 metres of the utility's intermediate pressure or transmission pipelines. Depending on the scope of work begin done, FortisBC will outline conditions that must be met before work can begin, which could include FortisBC employees being on site during the excavation.

Information on the location of underground gas lines is provided free of charge. If gas lines still cannot be found after calling BC One Call and digging by hand, the public is encouraged to call FortisBC directly at 1-888-822-6555 for assistance. The public is strongly urged to follow these steps to stay safe:

  1. Call BC One Call toll-free at 1-800-474-6886 (or *6886 from any cell phone) at least two business days before you start excavation. This is a requirement of FortisBC and provincial gas safety regulations. BC One Call will contact its members with underground facilities in the excavation area, who will then provide the caller with the requested information at no cost.
  2. Have all location information on site and refer to it during the excavation.
  3. Use the gas line information to locate and mark lines and maintain the markings until digging is underway.
  4. HAND DIG FIRST to locate and carefully expose gas lines before using mechanical equipment.

FortisBC provides safety regulators like the BC Safety Authority and WorkSafeBC with detailed findings from pipeline damages. FortisBC also uses that information to remind the public to use BC One Call. As a founding member of the BC Common Ground Alliance, FortisBC also raises awareness about safe excavation practices, in line with other underground utilities and services such as telephone, cable, and sewage. For more information on pipeline safety and safe excavation practices, please visit fortisbc.com or bconecall.bc.ca.

FortisBC is an integrated energy solutions provider focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and alternative energy solutions, at the lowest reasonable cost. FortisBC employs more than 2,000 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC

owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines and approximately 46,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.

 

SOURCE FortisBC Inc.

For further information:

Media Contacts:

Marcus Wong
Corporate Communications Manager
Phone: 778-571-3263
Email: marcus.wong@fortisbc.com
Follow us at: www.twitter.com/FortisBC

Gary Tremblay
Executive Director
BC One Call Ltd.
Office: 250-537-1559
Cell: 604-230-6122

Profil de l'entreprise

FortisBC Inc.

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