Terasen Gas line damages decrease in 2008



    
    Public urged to use BC One Call and follow safety regulations to reduce
    further in 2009
    

    SURREY, BC, May 4 /CNW/ - In the midst of one of B.C.'s coldest winters
on record, with home heating systems working around the clock, 225 Terasen Gas
customers living in Olalla, near Keremeos, had their natural gas service
temporarily interrupted after an excavator struck an underground natural gas
pipeline. This incident, and many like it, could have been avoided had the
excavator followed safe excavation practices as set out by provincial safety
regulations.
    "In 2008, Terasen Gas experienced 1,509 incidents related to excavator
activity, which is down from 2007," says Dwain Bell, Vice President of
Distribution, Terasen Gas. "While there has been a decrease in damages, it is
important to note that the chief cause of incidents has not changed.
Approximately 70 per cent of last year's incidents may have been prevented had
a call been placed to BC One Call for gas line information."
    "Hand digging within one metre of a gas line could have prevented another
20 per cent of incidents, and the balance could have been prevented by
protecting the facilities during the construction process," continues Bell.
"Less than one per cent of damages occurred because of an error in gas line
location information." The decrease in excavator-related incidents can be
attributed to a decline in fourth quarter construction activity in the
province.
    Each time a gas line is hit, Terasen Gas arrives on-site to ensure public
safety and make repairs. Also, every incident is tracked and reviewed to
better understand the cause of system damage.
    "We provide our safety regulators with the findings and use the
information to plan and implement safety awareness activities that encourage
safe excavation practices and remind people to use BC One Call," says Bell.
"For example, Terasen Gas supports the Dig Safe BC! workshops held around the
province to educate the construction industry. We are also a founding member
of the BC Common Ground Alliance which develops best practices for safe
excavation."
    Being safe means getting underground gas line information before digging.
Call BC One Call at 1-800-474-6886 or (*)6886 on your cellular at least three
days prior to the start of your work. BC One Call will contact all member
organizations with underground utilities, including Terasen Gas, in the dig
area. This is a requirement of provincial gas safety regulations. The call and
the information are free.
    Once you have the location information, keep it on-site during
excavation. Use the information to locate the gas line and then hand dig to
expose the line before using any mechanical equipment. If you hand dig and
can't find the buried gas line, or need further clarification, call Terasen
Gas at 1-888-822-6555.
    To avoid the dangers and costs of hitting an underground line, always
Call Before You Dig. For more information, visit terasengas.com or visit
www.bconecall.bc.ca.

    Terasen Gas is mainly composed of the operations of Terasen Gas Inc. and
Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc., both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries
of Fortis Inc. Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in
Canada, serves more than two million gas and electric customers and has total
assets exceeding $11 billion. Its regulated holdings include Terasen Gas and
electric utilities in five Canadian provinces and three Caribbean countries.
Fortis Inc. owns non-regulated hydroelectric generation assets across Canada
and in Belize and upper New York State. It also owns hotels and commercial
real estate in Canada. 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





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Kirsten Walker, Communications
Specialist, Terasen Gas, Office: (604) 592-7507, Email:
kirsten.walker@terasengas.com; Gary Tremblay, Executive Director, BC One Call
Ltd., Office: (250) 537-1559, Cell: (604) 230-6122

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