8,000 Falkirk homes face days without gas in sub-zero temperatures

Perry children
Image caption Angelene Perry’s children donned blankets and woolly hats as the family struggled to stay warm

Thousands of homes could be without heating for “several days” after a gas main failure in central Scotland.

Gas infrastructure company SGN said about 8,000 properties in the Falkirk area had been left without supplies,

SGN engineers were working to fix equipment that regulates gas pressure but warned each property would have to be visited.

Electric heaters and cookers were being offered to elderly or sick customers, and those with young children.

Temperatures in the Falkirk area were barely above freezing for much of Sunday and were forecast to fall to minus 2C overnight.

Falkirk Council said schools may have to close on Monday and it would be working with SGN to care for vulnerable people affected.

Image copyright SGN
Image caption SGN said it had a large team of engineers working to fix the problem

SGN said homes in Bainsford, Carron, Carronshore, Larbert, Langlees, New Carron Village, Skinflats and Stenhousemuir were affected by a faulty “gas governor” which regulates pressure in the network.

In its latest update it said it would need to visit every property to turn off the gas supply at the meter.

“With so many homes affected, it’s likely you could be without your gas supply for several days,” it added.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause. We’re doing all we can to restore gas supplies to the area as soon as possible. “

A customer information centre at the Camelon Community Centre in Falkirk will be stocked with portable cooking and heating appliances for elderly, disabled and chronically sick customers, as well as those with young children or other special needs.

Customers can request the appliances by calling 0800 9121717.

One customer, Angelene Perry, who has four young children including a baby, said the family woke on Sunday morning to find the boiler off and displaying an error message.

Image caption Gas customers woke to find error messages on their boilers

She said: “It’s really cold in the house and we’re all huddled in the living room where we’ve got a small heater. I’ve dressed the baby in plenty of clothes and a hat.

“I spoke to the gas company and was told a valve had been broken by the cold but they didn’t know how long it would take to fix it.

“I think we’re going to have to leave here and go to my sister’s as we don’t have any hot water or anything.”

Falkirk Council said it had alerted housing and social work services to be on standby to support SGN and was contacting head teachers to let parents know if schools would be affected.

A spokesman said: “We have a list of vulnerable people in the area so we know were people who may have the most difficulty are.”

He said schools could potentially close if the buildings are very cold, though all care homes in affected areas are currently fine.

“We are ready to support SGN in any way we can,” he added.

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