GAS supplies have been restored to nearly 1,000 properties but the number of households affected has doubled.

According to The National Grid, 980 homes have now been reconnected.

A further 750 still require work and 180 remain without electricity either.

Originally it was 700 homes and yesterday the organisation estimated 1,200 households had problems but said today that the difference in number was because many homes had a supply but no pressure.

A spokeswoman said it now had 150 gas engineers from across the country on site and said the organisation was doing all it could to try and reconnect the remaining properties in time for Christmas.

“Many engineers are giving up their own Christmas holidays to help out.”

David Luetchford, National Grid's head of operations in East Barnet Village, said: “We have now restored gas supplies to 980 homes, but we are still pumping water out of the gas network.

“Safety is our top priority and people must not try to turn their own gas supply back on. An engineer will call to reconnect the supply safely when it is safe to do so.

“I appreciate that this is a difficult time for residents, but we are doing all we can and I ask them to bear with us as we work to resolve this situation.”

National Grid is working closely with the London Borough of Barnet’s emergency planning department to identify vulnerable people within the area.

However the Barnet Times has been inundated with complaints about the relief effort.

Residents have said the information available has been poor and the number of heaters and cooking rings given out inadequate.

Ashley Reid of Capel Road, who has a five month-old baby, said: “I've been unable to speak to any gas representatives, except the two guys I've had to check the meter to see if there is water in our system, have tried the emergency helpline number and also another number.

Both numbers are continually engaged, nobody seems to know what is going on and there is no information avaliable as to what is happening.

“The engineers i have spoken to seem to be as much in the dark as we all are.”

Bill Hancock of Alverstone Avenue is one of the residents whose electricity went down after residents overloaded the network using fan heaters given to the them by National Grid.

He said: “EDF Energy said they had no engineer available despite the same thing happening the previous day and despite the fact that more heaters had been given out in the meantime – hello!

“Our gas was also switched off on Monday night, presumably by National Grid.

“Yesterday morning another contracting company came round to turn it off. Clearly there is a lack of communication.”