Westcoast Challenges BC's Southern Crossing
Westcoast Energy Inc. last week challenged BC Gas' request for an abbreviated
approval process for the Southern Crossing pipeline proposal and called
for a full public review of the re-filed proposal by BC Gas to build a
$350 million pipeline across Southern British Columbia. Westcoast maintains
the Southern Crossing project is too expensive and that there are other
In April after an extensive regulatory review, the British Columbia
Utilities Commission (BCUC) denied the application by BC Gas to build the
Southern Crossing pipeline. However, PG&E
Energy Trading Canada Corp. made a deal with BC Gas for capacity on Southern
Crossing and for provision of peaking services to BC Gas, pending regulatory
approvals (see NGI Dec. 14, 1998). BC Gas
re-filed for construction of Southern Crossing. The PG&E
agreement calls for the company to take 50% of the project's capacity to
Huntingdon for 10 years. BC Gas also has announced that BC Hydro will hold
the other 50% of the capacity. The pipeline also will provide capacity
to utility customers in the interior of British Columbia.
"The BCUC has already rejected the BC Gas Southern Crossing proposal.
It was turned down by the BCUC last April, and it should be turned down
again because the proposal hasn't really changed," said Art Willms,
President of Westcoast. "The real question is who is going to pay
for this pipeline? This proposal, as filed, is inadequate and deficient
in the information it provides. .[B]ased on their first filing, we believe
that this pipeline proposal will cost the residential customers of BC Gas
at least an extra $100 a year, each and every year for the next thirty
"BC Gas wants to build a major pipeline that will increase their
customer's gas bill by at least 20%. There are better options."
Joe Fisher, Houston
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