A pipeline explosion in British Columbia on Tuesday has cut off the flow of Canadian natural gas into Washington, raising the risk of power outages around the state.
Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Avista Corp. and Cascade Natural Gas said Wednesday that their gas supplies had been disrupted due to the explosion that occurred a day earlier and asked their customers to reduce consumption. The three companies serve almost 2.4 million customers combined, mostly in Washington, according to the companies’ websites.
PSE, the state’s largest private energy utility, uses natural gas to generate electricity and said its natural-gas supply from the pipeline was halted between 7 and 8 a.m. Wednesday. The company hasn’t been informed when the flow will resume and is looking to make up for the deficit by tapping all other energy sources that aren’t “already spoken for,” said Duane Henderson, a PSE gas-systems integrity manager.
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If the situation isn’t resolved soon and the energy deficit persists, he said the company may be forced to cut power to some customers.
“In order to balance out, we might start seeing some outages,” Henderson said. Possible outages would be limited to “pockets” in some local regions, he added.
PSE asked its customers in a tweet Wednesday to lower their thermostats and limit the use of hot water. In addition to seeking out other energy sources, the company is trying to make up for the shortfall in natural-gas supplies by reducing consumption by 15 percent, Henderson said.