Gas supplier has ‘suspicions’ about why 750 customers were cut off

Gas supplies
Gas supplies

An investigation to find out exactly why hundreds of Leighton Buzzard homes lost their gas supply on Thursday evening has proved inconclusive.

Engineers from network managers SGN worked throughout the night in freezing temperatures after 750 homes across the Billington Park and Sandhills area were affected on one of the coldest nights of the winter so far.

On Monday morning gas supplier GTC confirmed to the LBO that although supplies had been restored to most customers, they had not found any fault in the system or had to make any repairs, but had “suspicions” on the cause.

A spokesman explained: “Our gas network is fed from the Southern Gas Network via a pressure reduction station. This is a piece of equipment that reduces the gas pressure in the mains so that it is compatible with customers appliances. Our investigation has found nothing wrong with this equipment or our mains system. Indeed it is now operating without any repairs having been made.

“We cannot be certain but it is our suspicion that the isolation valves immediately downstream of the pressure reduction station which are buried but have access via a removal box lid had been operated by persons unknown.”

“It is probable the person would have had some construction/demolition knowledge. A general member of the public would not know that a valve was concealed below an iron box in the footpath and it is unlikely it could have been operated by hand only.

“The act could have been malicious, or made by error assuming that the valve operated something else, for example a water mains supply. This type of event is fairly rare but not unique regrettably.”

He added: “We were alerted to the loss of supply on Thursday evening and together with our emergency service provider Southern Gas Networks we have worked to restore supplies since then.

“All but a few premises where the owners are not at home are now back on gas and those that remain off can contact us for an immediate reconnection when they are available at home.”