VICTORIA, B.C- The province is asking public workers to conserve their use of natural gas.

The request comes in the wake of the Enbridge pipeline explosion near Prince George earlier this week.

Michelle Mungall, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, released an update to the province on the flow of natural gas to communities in British Columbia on Friday afternoon.

“As we all know, the damage to the Enbridge pipeline near Prince George resulted in reduced natural gas flow to most communities in British Columbia,” said the minister, in a news release.

“There are two Enbridge-owned pipelines that provide natural gas to British Columbia – a 30-inch in diameter pipeline and a second, 36-inch in diameter line. Both lines were shut down and depressurized as a precaution following the rupture that occurred on the 36-inch line. Both lines provide natural gas to ForstisBC’s delivery system.

“As of today, the good news is Enbridge has successfully restored flow to the 30-inch line at a pressurization rate of 80%, but the other line will be out of service for an unknown period of time. For now, natural gas is flowing in the 30-inch line but below normal capacity.

“It will take some time before repairs can be made to the 36-inch line, so FortisBC is asking customers to continue to avoid non-essential use of natural gas until this supply issue is resolved.

“Thank you to everyone in B.C. who has already limited your natural gas use. Your actions have reduced natural gas use in British Columbia by 20%. As much as possible, please continue to keep your thermostat turned down while limiting your use of natural gas on other appliances.

“We have been in close contact with FortisBC and are working with them to coordinate priority supply to families and communities. The general priority of service will be residential and commercial first, then industrial.”

The release goes on to state that employees across the public sector have been asked to keep thermostats turned down in all government buildings heated by natural gas, including schools, hospitals, and municipal offices.

“We will continue working with Enbridge and FortisBC to address this situation, and we support the Transportation Safety Board in its investigation into the cause of the incident,” said the minister.

“We are all thankful no injuries occurred and the situation is showing improvements already.”

Updates will be posted to the FortisBC website, according to the minister.