Gas engineers reconnect 3,000 homes in first day after network failure

By Douglas Barrie and Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland

Engineers have begun reconnecting gas supplies to thousands of homes after a failure in the network.

Around 8,000 properties in the Falkirk area were affected by the problem, which began hitting households on Sunday.

Gas network company SGN previously suggested it could be Friday or even into the weekend before supplies were restored to everyone.

By Monday night, supplies were restored to 3,000 homes across areas including Bainsford, Carron, Carronshore, Larbert, Langlees, New Carron Village, Skinflats and Stenhousemuir.

The company praised the “incredible efforts from our engineers over the past 36 hours”, and said in a statement: “We’ll visit as many properties as we can before it gets too late tonight, before restarting work first thing in the morning.

“Our engineers will be revisiting each affected property to reconnect your gas supply, which involves carrying out safety checks.

“It’s important you don’t try to turn on your gas supply yourself.

“We have more than 8,000 properties to visit and it will take us a couple of days to reach everyone.

“We’re prioritising those most vulnerable members of the community first but we’ll be making every effort to get gas back on to everyone’s homes as soon as possible.”

Gas mains failure in central Scotland
People carry hotplates and fan heaters after homes in the area were affected by a gas mains failure (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A fault in a piece of equipment that regulates pressure in the gas network was to blame, according to SGN.

Fourteen schools, nurseries and education facilities in the area were closed on Monday due to the issue.

SGN set up an information point at Camelon Community Centre with electric hotplates and heaters made available for vulnerable residents, older people and those with young children.

The centre closed at 10pm on Monday, with a view of reopening at 8.30am on Tuesday.

The company added: “We’re still providing electric hotplates and heaters for people with young children, a disability, a long-term mental or physical condition or who are a bit older.

“The electricity network company SP Energy Networks is monitoring the increased electricity demand in the area and is advising residents to be mindful of how you’re using electricity over the next few days – heat the rooms you’re using, wrap up warm and don’t have your devices turned on at once.

“Please remember to always check the ID of anyone calling at your home. All our engineers carry photo ID badges, as do other official organisations.”

Gas mains failure in central Scotland
Hot food is given out to workers and members of the public at Camelon Community Centre (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Local businesses were also feeling the impact at the beginning of the week.

The Malcolm Allan butchers in Larbert had to stop production at the bakery where it makes steak pies after losing its gas supply on Monday morning.

Speaking at midday, director Gordon Allan said: “We have two factories, one is a bakery and one is a sausage factory.

“The bakery is effectively shut down from two hours ago, I’ve got staff in limbo.

“We’ve staff to pay and we’re not producing, it’s not looking good at all.

“The sausage factory will still produce because we have electric cookers so it can keep going but we can’t keep the bakery going.

“It’s a major incident, we don’t know when it will be sorted and this is a busy time of year for us because we do lots of steak pies for new year.”