The Northwest Territories Power Corporation announced it will switch to using mostly diesel to help conserve the dwindling natural gas supply in the town of Inuvik, N.W.T.

The swittch to diesel use starts in the new year.

The government of the Northwest Territories will cover the cost difference between diesel and natural gas for power generation.

The move comes as the town’s natural gas supply is dwindling at a much faster pace than expected.

The town’s supply comes from a well owned by Ikhil Joint Venture, which is contracted by the power corporation to produce electricity. This fall, Ikhil announced the gas field could be empty in less than two years.

In a release, the Minister responsible for the power corporation, Michael Miltenberger said the government felt the need to insulate the town’s residents from future cost hikes.

"This move will stabilize the situation and allows us more time to find a long-term solution for the residents of Inuvik," he said.

The move to diesel is supposed to double the life of the town’s natural gas supply.

More than 80 per cent of Inuvik homes rely on natural gas for heating, and all homes in the town rely on natural gas for electricity.

About 3,500 people live in the Arctic town.