Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Friday, 25 December 2009

Gas supplies cut off on Christmas Day for 150 homes

Residents gathered around an electric heater
About 80 engineers are working to restore supply

About 150 households in north London will have no gas on Christmas Day, as supplies remain cut off after six days.

The residents in East Barnet will be given extra compensation after water from a burst main entered gas pipes.

National Grid said about 80 engineers would work throughout the day to pump the water out, but one resident described its response as "chaotic".

More than 3,000 cooking and heating appliances have been handed out and some will be sent Christmas dinners.

Helen Lyon, a mother-of-three, said she had gone without gas central heating and hot water for four nights.

'Real challenge'

She said: "It's utter chaos down at the incident room at St Mary's school - no-one seems to be able to tell you anything.

"They offer empty promises and are trying to brush you under the carpet.

Residents who have enquiries about the loss of gas supply should call 0845 605 6677

"On Tuesday, I actually burst out in tears in front of them until somebody came and dealt with me."

She said she had now been reconnected.

Harry Buchanan, head of emergency at the National Grid, apologised and said: "We clearly did not set out to upset anyone. She is absolutely right, it was a bit chaotic on Sunday in terms of the heaters. We tried to resolve that later on.

"The real challenge is to get the remaining water out of the system."

About 180 customers also went without electricity for up to 24 hours from Tuesday evening.

The last electrical supplies were restored at 2017 GMT on Wednesday via temporary supplies, EDF energy said.

"Permanent electrical repair work continued through the night," an EDF spokeswoman said.

However, she warned: "Some customers may experience a brief interruption again on Thursday while their power supply is switched from the temporary source to the permanent network."

Supplies have already been restored to more than 1,000 properties and the National Grid has worked with Barnet Council's emergency planning department to identify vulnerable people.

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