WORK is taking place this morning to restore gas to more than 300 homes in Durham following a water main burst.
Water found its way into the gas network yesterday following the burst in Framwellgate Moor, near Durham.
Engineers have been working to restore gas to 321 homes in the Caterhouse Road area after the incident was reported at about 3.30pm.
A spokesperson for Northern Gas Networks said engineers were still trying to work out where the water is getting into the pipes.
It is not yet known when the situation will be resolved.
A drop-in centre was set up at the Bede Lodge Social Club, on Finchale Road last night.
The centre was open through the night, providing information, hot drinks and a warm place to wait.
Last night, 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.
“Removing water from gas pipes is a time-consuming process, but our teams are working as quickly as possible to return things to normal. We are doing everything we can to keep customers warm, well fed and comfortable while this work takes place.
“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 manner, 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.”
Anyone using the centre has been told to observe safe distancing guidelines by wearing a face mask, using the hand sanitiser and keep at least two metres apart from other households.
Residents affected by the incident have been given food vouchers to get a hot meal from two wagons, which are parked on Caterhouse Road and Ghyll Field Road.
Councillor Mark Wilkes said: “Local councillors are being kept updated and the County Council is working closely with Northern Gas Networks to resolve the problem.
“We hope this can be sorted out quickly so residents can get the heating back on and don’t have to use the electric heaters for too long.”
Cllr Amanda Hopgood added: “NGN are doing a huge amount to help residents, setting up a drop in centre, providing heaters and even mobile catering wagons.”
Northern Gas Network said officers have been going property to property to offer support and provide portable heaters and hot plates to those 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.
Vulnerable customers have been identified and are being given any additional support they may need, such as delivery of hot meals directly to their door.
Once the water has been removed from the gas pipes, engineers will need to re-enter customers’ homes in order to check and relight their gas boilers.
Engineers are following Government guidelines for safe distance working in all homes. They are wearing face masks, gloves and full PPE as required, and are asking householders to stay in a separate room while they work.
The Customer Care Team can be contacted on 0800 040 7766, or at email@example.com