Being prepared for winter can help customers stay safe and save energy

Simple tips to keep your home safe and warm this winter

SURREY, BC, Nov. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - With colder weather here, FortisBC is encouraging customers to get their homes ready for a safe and comfortable winter season.

"As we look to the cooler months ahead, there are many simple steps that homeowners can take to help keep their home warm and safe this winter," said Tom Loski, vice president, customer service, at FortisBC. "As an example, it's important to have your home's heating system serviced annually by a licensed contractor to help make sure it operates as safely and efficiently as possible."

Appliance maintenance tips:

  • Service natural gas appliances and furnaces. For homes that have natural gas furnaces, fireplaces and appliances, it is important to have a licensed gas contractor registered with the BC Safety Authority inspect and service all natural gas appliances on an annual basis to keep them operating in a safe and efficient manner.  Make sure the contractor locates and inspects the gas piping from the meter to the appliance to confirm that it is functioning safely and free of any corrosion or damage. Information about choosing a natural gas contractor is available at or

  • Ask the experts. Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels are burned incompletely. Tobacco smoking, idling gasoline-powered vehicles and the burning of oil, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, propane or natural gas can all produce carbon monoxide. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from natural gas appliances is extremely low, however regular maintenance checks by a licensed gas contractor are the best prevention.

Safety tips:

  • Smell gas? Report it fast. If you smell the distinct rotten egg, or sulphur-like odour of natural gas, leave the area immediately and call the FortisBC 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-663-9911 or 911.

  • Keep your meter clear of ice and snow. For natural gas meters, remove any built-up snow by hand until the regulator and shut off valve are clear to help avoid pipe breakages, leaks and interruptions of gas service. And, if ice builds up on your gas meter, call FortisBC at 1-888-224-2710.

  • Keep kids safe around a gas fireplace. Consider installing an adjustable safety gate or screen and a fire-resistant hearth guard to better protect young children around a gas fireplace. A safety screen would ensure children do not touch the glass panels of a natural gas fireplace. Visit your local hearth products retailer to find a safety screen that's right for your home.

In addition to regular appliance inspection and maintenance, there are many ways customers can lower their energy costs, while also staying safe.

"This winter, home heating will account for a significant portion of a customer's energy bill. Customers who are contemplating home renovations, or shopping for new appliances, may want to consider doing the project while significant rebates are available through FortisBC, the provincial LiveSmart BC and federal ecoENERGY programs to help keep their ongoing energy costs down," said Loski.

For a limited time, LiveSmart BC and the Government of Canada ecoENERGY Retrofit-HomesProgram provide rebates to homeowners who upgrade their home under the direction of a certified energy advisor.  Rebates are subject to availability and can change at any time. More information is available in the Offers section on

For more tips and information on natural gas safety and energy conservation, visit

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 2,300 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 or


For further information:

Lisa Corcoran
Corporate Communications Advisor
Phone: 250-718-8687


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