Jos Moerman, co-owner of Sunnyside Produce, said gas service to their Surrey and Delta greenhouses was interrupted after the pipeline explosion, so they were temporarily forced to switch to their wood-burning and diesel backups.
Sunnyside has since returned to natural gas but at a higher price and Moerman said that will cut into their profit. They sell a lot of their sweet bell peppers to Costco in the U.S. and Canada, who will turn to Ontario, Mexico or elsewhere if they try to raise prices, Moerman said. In order to remain competitive he can’t pass his additional costs onto consumers, he said.
Moerman said Sunnyside will likely spend about $300,000 for natural gas this month for the two greenhouses, up from about $120,000 last year. They will still remove their old crop in November and plant in December, to have product ready for market in March. But the financial impacts of the explosion are expected to be severe.
“The impact of gas prices is very negative for us,” he said.