Make sure your gas system is prepared for the cold weather

Community News from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Community News from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter

National Grid has finished its Christmas shopping and has bought 3,500 pairs of industrial socks, 900 thermal T-shirts 600 pairs of thermal long johns and 600 fleece jackets to kit out engineers as they face the challenge of keeping gas flowing during the winter months. But, the company asks, are you as well prepared for the cold weather?

The company is urging people to check their central heating and gas appliances now and, if necessary, have them serviced or repaired without delay. In particular, the company reminds householders that central heating systems should be serviced every year.

“We’ve made our preparations for winter,” said Ian Palfreyman, Head of Network of National Grid, “and we urge all gas users to make sure that they’re also properly prepared. As always, we’re ready to handle any problems that do occur, but gas users will have a much more comfortable time during the cold weather if they act now to reduce the chances of having to call us out.

“They can do this by making sure that their heating systems and other gas appliances have been checked and serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer.”

National Grid is the energy supply company that operates the National Gas Emergency Service hotline (0800 111 999). Every year, it sees a huge increase in calls when the first spell of cold weather arrives and people discover that they’ve got problems with their gas appliances.

This year, the company is concerned that it may get even more calls than usual because the warm summer and mild autumn mean that many people haven’t paid much attention to their heating systems in recent months.

To ensure that it can respond quickly and effectively to the 100,000 plus calls it expects to receive this winter, National Grid has invested not only in warm clothing for its employees, but also in additional vehicles for its service fleet, including 36 extra 4x4s to help it cope with icy conditions and snow. Extra engineering and call-centre staff will also be available to handle the increased demands on the National Gas Emergency Service, which National Grid operates on behalf of the eight distribution companies that supply gas to homes and businesses.

Whatever the season, anyone who smells gas or is experiencing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – which usually include headaches, nausea and vomiting – should IMMEDIATELY call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

Ian added: “Please don’t wait, thinking we won’t be able to get to you until the weather improves. Gas escapes and carbon monoxide poisoning can put lives in danger. So remember, if you need us, call us and we’ll be there – whatever the weather.”

A list of Gas Safe Registered engineers, who are qualified to work legally and safely on gas appliances, is available on the www.gassaferegister.co.uk website. Further information about the National Gas Emergency Service, along with advice about gas safety and helpful videos, can be found on at www.nationalgrid.com