Gas disruption

Natural gas disruptions, like other utility disruptions, are rare. However, we were recently reminded that they can occur. On Oct. 9, 2018 an Enbridge-owned natural gas transmission pipeline ruptured near Prince George, BC. As Enbridge’s pipelines provide the majority of FortisBC’s natural gas to southern BC, this incident had an immediate impact on gas service in the southern part of the province and FortisBC requested that institutional customers such as UVic conserve their use of natural gas.

Recently FortisBC informed institutional customers that they can resume regular use of natural gas. As a result the temperatures in buildings at UVic will return to normal during the week of January 14. Thank you for your cooperation, patience and efforts to conserve energy during the provincial natural gas supply disruption.

Facilities Management will continue to work with building occupants to optimize building comfort while maintaining the university’s commitment to sustainability.

University of Victoria response

In response to a request from FortisBC in the fall of 2018, Facilities Management staff reduced use of natural gas, lowered the thermostats in all campus buildings heated by natural gas to between 18 and 20°C and modified the heating schedule to operate on reduced hours.

The university has taken precautions to protect university resources and infrastructure and minimize any impacts of a natural gas disruption on students, faculty and staff. A campus working group was established to plan proactively to prepare for colder temperatures and possible failure of heating equipment.

This team worked on responses to scenarios in which further reductions to campus heating could be necessary. The scenarios considered the effects of progressively lower temperatures on the ability to heat campus buildings, provide hot water and provide gas for cooking.

While the risk of further natural gas disruptions this winter is now low, the university will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates as they become available. UVic will provide as much notice as possible if any further reductions in building temperature or other actions are required. 

Potential for campus closure

In some natural gas curtailment scenarios it may become necessary to cancel classes, restrict access to buildings without heat, or close the campus. UVic only interrupts regular operations under exceptional circumstances.

A campus closure due to the loss of heat and hot water as a result of a natural gas supply disruption is not an emergency where immediate action is required. If a closure is announced, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to follow instructions from the university and wind down any on-campus activities by the time indicated in the announcement.

Tips and reminders

  • Wear appropriate clothing for cooler temperatures.
  • When natural gas disruptions are occurring check uvic.ca for any advisories, Twitter and Facebook.
  • We strongly advise against the use of portable electric space heaters, which are potential safety hazards. There is also a risk that the increased demand on the electrical system may overload the system and leave entire work areas without power.
  • Visit FortisBC website for tips on reducing your use of natural gas and conserving energy this winter.

Frequently asked questions

General information

Where can I get up-to-date information?

Visit uvic.ca for updates.

The university has closed today. When will we find out if the university will open tomorrow?

Check uvic.ca. Conditions will be evaluated each day an announcement will be made on the website as soon as possible.

If I see people in my building after the campus closure announcement has been made do I ask them to leave?

Feel free to let people know of the campus closure message as they may not yet know. The most current information on the campus closure message is available at uvic.ca.

If you have a concern with people being in areas that you feel they should not be in please call Campus Security at 250-721-7599.


Events

I am hosting an event on campus and I’ve just received notice the university is closing unexpectedly before the event is scheduled to end. Do we have to leave or cancel the event?

It is recommended that the event be cancelled. The campus has been closed.

I am supposed to attend an event on campus. Is this scheduled event still happening?

When the campus is closed it is expected that any scheduled events will also be cancelled. Updates on the status of the campus closure will be posted to uvic.ca when more information becomes available. Please contact the event organizers or visit their website for specific information on the event.

Is my off-campus event (e.g. at the Legacy Art Galleries) still happening?

Please contact the venue or event organizers, or visit their website for specific information on the event.

If my event is not happening, will it be rescheduled? Will I be refunded?

Please contact the event organizers or visit their website for specific information on the event.