Natural gas service to resume for chilled Manitoba residents

by Reuters
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 16:07 GMT

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Natural gas service was set to resume on Tuesday for most of the 4,000 Manitoba residents and businesses left shivering following a TransCanada Corp pipeline explosion in the Western Canadian province on Saturday.

The province has been locked in a deep freeze, with temperatures on Tuesday nearing minus 30 Celsius (minus 22 Fahrenheit). Manitoba Hydro's electricity grid has continued to function, however, and many residents have been using small electric heaters to try to stay warm.

Natural gas started flowing through TransCanada's pipeline and into Manitoba Hydro's distribution system for some towns early Tuesday, said Scott Powell, a spokesman for Manitoba Hydro, a government-owned energy company.

Service should resume to the remaining communities by midday, TransCanada said in a statement on Tuesday.

The explosion and fire happened early Saturday near Otterburne, Manitoba, about 50 km (31 miles) south of the provincial capital, Winnipeg. No one was hurt in the blast and the cause is under investigation.

Most customers should see gas service resume quickly, but it could take two days for others, Manitoba Hydro said. Hydro staff are going door to door in the affected towns to relight pilot lights on furnaces and boilers.

On Monday, TransCanada Executive Vice-President Karl Johannson apologized to Manitoba residents for the service disruption. He said the company would compensate them for direct costs they have incurred as a result of the disruption.

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