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B.C. man ordered to pay for damaging gas line despite blueprints showing it was elsewhere

B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal ordered Fischer to pay $2,309 in damages plus fees
A Fortis crew repairs the damaged gas line along Tolmie Avenue just east of Quadra Avenue on Wednesday morning. The line was damaged by a third party. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

A man has been ordered to pay $2,440 to Fortis BC after he damaged a natural gas line after he unsuccessfully argued that the line was four and a half feet out of line with the design plan.

The B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal ruled that despite the fact the line was “out of line”, Herbert Fischer did not phone B.C. 1 Call (1-800-474-6886) to check where the line was located prior to digging. Fischer also failed to hand dig to find the line prior to digging with an excavator.

The power line was supposed to be on the south side of a hydro pole in the design plans. Fischer maintains that he had several calls with Fortis BC and designers who knew of his intention to locate his underground powerline on the south side of the power pole. Instead, he found the line while digging on the north end of the pole.

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“Yet, there is no evidence that Fortis was obliged to follow that designer’s plan. In any event, since Mr. Fischer undisputedly did not call BC 1 Call as required to identify the gas main’s location before attempting to dig, I find he breached the standard of care. It is undisputed that Mr. Fischer’s digging caused the gas line damage,” Tribunal vice chair Shelley Lopez wrote.

“In short, I find Mr. Fischer was negligent and his negligence damaged Fortis’ gas line.”

Fischer was ordered to pay $2,309 in damages including $2,003.69 for labour and fieldwork and $300 for Fortis vehicles. Lopez denied a claim of $37 to pay for lunches for FortisBC workers. On top of that, Fischer was ordered to pay $125 in CRT fees and $11.19 in pre-judgement interest.

Homeowners owe Fortis a “duty of care” when working around gas lines. Homeowners must contact B.C. 1 Call prior to digging and await approval. Fortis says this should be done for any projects that require digging to avoid being on the hook for repair costs.


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