Water is still being removed from the gas mains, at the rate of 50-litres per hour, but engineers have just begun to re-gas the mains network.
This will take between one and two hours to complete, after which individual homes and businesses will begin to be returned to using gas.
`Our engineers will continue this work late into the night,' said Communications Director John O'Grady. `While we see lights on in homes we will visit to restore the gas supply. But there will come a time when it is better to stand-down for the night and return in the morning.'
Northern Gas Networks, and its operating partner United Utilities, would like to apologise to the people of Rothbury for the inconvenience, but also to thank everyone for their fortitude and understanding at this difficult time.
A total of 1,041 homes and businesses are affected. All had to be visited to close their individual emergency control valves before the process of restoring gas could begin. Engineers now need to visit every home and business to carry out safety checks and restore the gas supply.
It is vital than people do not try to reconnect themselves. This is dangerous and could be placing lives at risk. Please be patient and wait for a qualified engineer to carry out the work. All the engineers working in the area carry an identity card and householders should ask to see it before letting anyone into their home. If in doubt, call the Police.
A welfare centre remains open at Dr Thomlinson Middle School in Silverton Road where people can go to get warm and get hot refreshments. Residents who need transport to the centre should call 01665 620287. A second information letter is being hand delivered to affected properties.
Continue to visit Northern Gas Networks’ website www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk <http://www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk/> for the most up to date information or call our dedicated customer line on 0191 511 6940. If anyone has any concerns about gas they should call the national gas emergency service on 0800 111 999
`Safety is always our most important priority. The restoration process may seem slow, but we cannot take shortcuts and we will not take any risks,' Mr O'Grady added.
Compensation will be paid following the emergency, at a rate of £30 for every 24 hours of interruption. Residents do not need to claim this; it will be paid automatically to the companies which supply gas to the affected homes.