After natural gas service was shut down at 231 properties last year due to ground-shifting, nine more were added to that list Tuesday.
SaskEnergy announced it will no longer provide service to seven properties in South Lake, located on Buffalo Pound Lake, and two in Shore Acres at Last Mountain Lake due to safety concerns. Homeowners have been told they have until the end of September to find an alternate energy source.
“We just were monitoring the valley throughout the winter and we did see some additional movement in a very small section of Shore Acres,” David Burdeniuk, director of media relations for SaskEnergy, said.
Shore Acres was one of the six communities that saw discontinued service to properties last year.
A natural gas main located in Deer Valley will be permanently deactivated but no customers will be affected because it does not currently supply natural gas to any properties.
Burdeniuk said initially there were no plans to disconnect any more properties in the communities but more shifting occurred over the winter.
He said there’s always ground-shifting taking place but it’s usually very gradual and most cause a small leak at the connector, often located in an alley or the front street.
“It can lead to much greater safety issues as we found in 2015 with the incident in Regina Beach.”
A cottage in the community exploded due to a natural gas leak three years ago.
While most ground movement is within the range of a few millimetres, in 2015-14 SaskEnergy recorded movement of several feet in some areas.
The most common alternative heating sources to natural gas are propane and electricity.
Burdeniuk said newer furnaces can easily be converted to propane but older ones will require a new unit be installed. It also costs more to run propane and electricity compared to natural gas.
In order to help offset the costs, the customers who are affected will get a $2,500 fuel transition allowance.
SaskEnergy will be able to reroute a gas pipeline away from where the shifting is taking place, allowing service to continue for 120 properties. Construction work on the pipeline is planned for this fall.