Thousands of homes in Falkirk in central Scotland are facing several days without gas in cold weather after supplies were turned off over safety concerns.
The gas company SGN said on Monday morning that it had turned off the gas to more than 3,000 homes since Sunday and would be going door to door to reach thousands more on Monday. Extra engineers have been drafted in from across Scotland to try and reach as many homes as possible.
Temperatures in central Scotland were close to freezing overnight and around 4C on Monday morning. One local resident, David McCallan, told BBC Scotland that his home was like an “ice box” when he woke up on Monday morning, until he switched on a heater supplied by SGN.
“It’s not a great heat but it’s sufficient to keep myself and my wife warm enough.”
SGN has set up an information centre in a local community centre and promised that it would supply electric hot plates and heaters for residents “with young children, a disability, a long-term mental or physical condition, [or who] are a bit older or live with someone who is”.
The problem began on Sunday morning, when residents reported problems with their gas supplies. The company later said it had established that about 8,000 homes across the area were without gas after a fault at the “gas governor”. The governor is a piece of equipment that regulates pressure in the gas network, ensuring gas reaches homes at the correct pressure.
Visits by engineers started again on Monday morning but SNG warned that in a worst case scenario it might take several days to reconnect supplies to all affected homes. Several schools will be closed while the problem is investigated.
SGN said homes in Bainsford, Carron, Carronshore, Larbert, Langlees, New Carron Village, Skinflats and Stenhousemuir were affected.
Local police said on Twitter: “Scottish Power is asking people in the Falkirk area is to be mindful of their electricity use over the coming days as there’s increased demand on the electricity network with people using heaters while they’re without gas.
In a statement SNG said: “By the end of last night, our engineers had turned off gas supplies to more than 3,000 homes across the Bainsford, Carron, Carronshore, Larbert, Langlees, New Carron Village, Skinflats and Stenhousemuir areas of Falkirk.
“It’s likely it will be several more days until everyone’s gas supplies are restored. In the meantime, we’re continuing to work closely with Falkirk council and Police Scotland, as well as other local organisations, to support the community – prioritising those who are vulnerable to make sure they’re well looked after while they’re without gas.”