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Engineers from Northern Gas Networks (NGN) are continuing their work to restore gas supplies to 327 homes in the Caterhouse Road area of Framwellgate near Durham today (Wednesday 9 December).

Water found its way into the local gas network yesterday, following a water main burst. Overnight, more than 5,000 litres of water were pumped out of the gas mains, and the removal of the remaining water is continuing today.

Pumping is expected to continue into this evening, but once complete engineers will be able to start work reconnecting customers to the gas supply. Homes will be reconnected street-by-street and customers will receive updates on this process from our on-site Customer Care officers.

Reconnection will involve engineers going into customers’ home to check and relight boilers, with NGN teams following Government guidelines for safe distance working. They will wear face masks, gloves and full PPE as required, and may ask householders to stay in a separate room while they work.

Customer Support

Hot food will be continue to be provided by the two food wagons from 4pm today, parked on Caterhouse Road and Ghyll Field Road. At meal times, customers should head to the food wagon nearest them, collect vouchers from NGN staff, and pick up their hot meal.

Customer Care teams will still be supporting the most vulnerable customers by delivering warm meals straight to their doorsteps.

The drop-in centre at Bede Lodge Social Club on Finchdale Road is still open. The centre will be open throughout the afternoon, into the evening and through the night, providing information, hot drinks and a warm place to wait. Anyone using the drop-in centre will need to observe safe distancing guidelines by wearing a face mask, using hand sanitiser and keeping at least two metres apart from other households.

Heaters and hotplates

Customer Care Officers are going property-to-property to offer support and provide portable heaters and hot plates to customers who need them to keep safe and warm.

Customers using electric heaters are being advised to use them to only heat essential rooms, to avoid putting any undue strain on the local electricity network. We are also asking customers to switch off any Christmas lights that they have, including tree lights. This will only be until their gas supply is restored, and will help to manage the demand on the power network while keeping homes safe and warm.

Fergal O’Donovan, Business Operations Lead for Northern Gas Networks, said: “We’d like to thank customers for their patience while we work to restore gas supplies. A large volume of water has been pumped from the gas mains overnight and this is a time-consuming process, but our teams are working as quickly as possible today to return things to normal. We are doing everything we can to keep customers warm, well fed and comfortable while this work takes continues.

“Our work will require us to enter homes to switch supplies back on once we are confident all the water has been removed. We can reassure customers that this work will be done in a COVID secure way, with engineers wearing all the necessary PPE.

“The drop-in centre will remain open 24/7, and we will continue to provide regular updates and every possible support, until supplies are restored.”

Who to contact

Customer Care Officers remain on site this evening, and the drop-in centre at Bede Lodge Social Club will be open today and also throughout tonight.

The Customer Care Team can also be  contacted on 0800 040 7766, or at customercare@northerngas.co.uk

Anyone who smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the free National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.