Yorkshire's gas company swamped by emergency calls during cold spell

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The firm responsible for distributing gas across Yorkshire and the North-East has been swamped by emergency calls during the cold weather spell.

Northern Gas Networks, which delivers gas to two-and-a-half million homes and businesses, has drafted in extra engineers to respond to an "unprecedented" number of calls.

The director of communications for Northern Gas Networks, John O'Grady, said: "The recent cold weather has provoked an unprecedented number of gas emergency calls across the whole of the country, so we have to prioritise on a risk basis the calls we are receiving and naturally those calls which present the greatest risk have to be dealt with first."

He added: "We apologise to people that we are not currently able to deliver to the normal standards of service but hope people will bear with us while we deal with the backlog."

During the week running up to Christmas, British Gas took almost 66,000 calls in its Stockport call centre, which covers the Yorkshire area.

Emma McDonald, of British Gas, said: "Due to the current spell of cold weather, we are experiencing very high call volumes and we are trying to prioritise our callouts so that our engineers are helping our most vulnerable customers first."