IT WILL be a miserable Christmas for 150 households in East Barnet whose gas remained unconnected last night.

National Grid workers have also had their holidays ruined as they spend the day away from their families trying to pump out the remaining water in the gas pipe system, and reconnect freezing families.

Many of them are hundreds of miles away from home, after The National Grid called in engineers from across the country to deal with a burst water pipe which flooded the gas system on Sunday.

Now the company is resorting to Plan B for the affected residents, with the help of Barnet Council and water company Veolia.

The organisations say they are making arrangements to deliver Christmas lunch to vulnerable people.

The local authority is assessing what support is needed by vulnerable people on a case by case basis, including alternative accommodation where necessary.

Harry Buchanan, National Grid incident controller, said: “We will do our utmost to get as many as residents as possible back on gas. We won’t go home until everyone has been reconnected.

“While we have all the engineers we need to reconnect people, the real challenge continues to be getting the remaining water out of the system. While the rise in temperatures has helped to thaw frozen water within the pipes, the remaining water continues to move around the system and this is what is hampering the reconnection process.

“We are working very hard to pump this water out. Our engineers will continue to work throughout Christmas Day and the festive season to get everyone back on gas.

Mr Buchanan also responded to complaints of poor communication and customer service by the company.

Residents have described the relief effort as “a fiasco” and “a debarcle”.

He said: “Additional customer service staff have been brought in to deal with queries from residents and support the restoration effort.”

The National Grid is also offering residents compensation .

For more information call 0845 605 6677 or to speak to staff on the ground 07810 470890 or 07768 953923.

Alternatively visit the gas-cut control centre in St Mary's School in Little Grove.

People are being advised that it is not safe to try to turn their own gas supply back on.

Are you spending Christmas in East Barnet without gas? How are you coping?

Contact our duty reporter Suruchi Sharma on or leave a comment in the box below.