VICTORIA - The National Energy Board has issued new safety orders for a pipeline explosion site in north-central British Columbia to strictly monitor natural gas flows to protect people and the environment.

The federal regulator says in a statement it ordered Calgary-based Enbridge to limit gas flows at 80 per cent pressure levels as a safeguard near the blast site, located about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George.

The Oct. 9 explosion ruptured a 91-centimetre natural pipeline, but did not damage an adjacent 76-centimetre pipeline, which is now sending natural gas on a reduced basis to about one million customers in B.C.

The NEB says safety hazards exist at the site and this week it placed restricted operating pressures on both pipelines that will remain in place until Enbridge demonstrates the lines can operate safely at higher pressure.

FortisBC, the province's natural gas supplier, says its customers can expect reduced supplies as winter approaches.

The company says natural gas supplies could be limited to 50 to 80 per cent of normal levels during the coldest months of the year.