Gas supply in Withernsea may not be restored until Monday

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Residents of a Yorkshire coastal town could face another night without heating.

Northern Gas Networks confirmed that there was no guarantee Withernsea's gas supply would be restored before Monday after water entered the pipeline on Saturday evening.

The breach is suspected to have caused the entire system to shut down for safety reasons, leaving 3,000 homes in the town without gas for cooking and heating.

In its latest update on the situation, NGN engineers admitted they had yet to fully establish the cause of the incident. Electric heaters are being handed out to vulnerable residents, but emergency services fear their use in so many homes could overload the local electricity grid.

Once the supply is switched back on, there could still be delays due to the need to 'bleed' pipes in individual properties.

The gas company's CEO, Mark Horsley, is in Withernsea and released a statement on Sunday afternoon.

“The main governor feeding Withernsea shut itself off around 6pm on Saturday. We think it was due to the adverse weather and water getting into the gas system and so the actual equipment was doing the right thing and made the whole network very safe.“What we are currently doing is investigating the cause of that before we can even think about turning the gas back on and so we are in that planning process at the moment.

“It is important that customers do turn off their gas at the gas mains. We will be dropping a note through every customer’s door, instructing them on what actions to take when we do switch the gas back on. Hopefully, it is going to be today, but I really can’t make any promises at the moment, until we have investigated further.

“We have established an incident centre and anybody who has neighbours with any issues of vulnerability please come round to the centre.

“We are giving out heaters, but we need to be careful as if we give heaters to everyone we may have problems on the electricity network.

“Northern Powergrid are supporting us extremely well at the moment to manage this situation as well.

“Our teams have been working through the night, all my board of directors are out here as well and we really are concerned to get this back on as quickly as we can.”

Northern Gas Networks is working together with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and other agencies to support customers during this time with heating, cooking, food and shower facilities.

A mobile catering unit is en route and will be based at the incident centre in the sports hall on Hull Road, where heaters are also being handed out.

As well as the incident centre, residents are able to go along to East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s leisure centre in the town to keep warm and receive hot drinks.

It will remain open longer than usual tonight, with people able to stay until 9pm. It will re-open earlier than usual tomorrow, from 6am, to again operate a drop-in centre.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Withernsea Centre in Queen Street has also been opened today to offer support to local residents.