Flames from the explosion of a natural gas pipeline near the community of Shelley, British Columbia. (Dhruv Desai via AP)

Flames from the explosion of a natural gas pipeline near the community of Shelley, British Columbia. (Dhruv Desai via AP)

Natural gas shortage is over, Puget Sound Energy says

The utility says its supply from Canada, disrupted by a pipeline explosion, has stabilized.

Herald staff and Associated Press

EVERETT — Puget Sound Energy on Thursday said the natural gas shortage caused by a British Columbia pipeline explosion is over — for customers south of the Canadian border, at least.

The company had asked that customers curtail use of gas because the blast had severed a major supply in Canada. PSE has 143,000 natural gas customers in Snohomish County, including Everett Community College, which was without heat and hot water Wednesday and early Thursday morning.

“The natural gas system has stabilized and PSE is returning to normal operations,” spokeswoman Janet Kim said.

In British Columbia, however, gas users still were being asked Thursday to curtail non-essential use. The damaged gas pipeline was still being repaired.

Fortis, a major gas and electric utility based in Canada, said Thursday that a line that had been shut down as a precaution was operational again, but the pipeline that suffered the damage was still being fixed. Both lines are owned by pipeline company Enbridge.

“Gas is now flowing in Enbridge’s 30-inch natural gas line,” Fortis said in a news release, but the supply “will continue to be constrained until the 36-inch gas line is repaired.” Fortis customers in B.C. were asked to continue to avoid “non-essential use of gas until the situation is completely resolved.”

Enbridge’s natural gas pipeline exploded Tuesday evening in Shelley, British Columbia, about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver. The line feeds gas customers in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

The call for voluntary gas rationing in Western Washington prompted Waste Management to cancel garbage, recycling and compostables collection for many customers Thursday in Snohomish and King counties. The company’s trucks run on natural gas.

And there was speculation that the shortage of natural gas might affect gasoline refineries and even electricity generation. Puget Sound Energy, which has hundreds of thousands of electricity customers outside Snohomish County, gets 22 percent of that power from generators that run on natural gas.

That was only a remote possibility “and calls for conservation are over,” Kim said, although the company will continue to monitor the system as Enbridge repairs the pipeline.

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