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 alternatives.

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&ampE 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&ampE 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 years.

“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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