GAS engineers are still battling the remains of “a phenomenal quantity” of water in East Barnet's gas pipes with more people without gas now than on Christmas Day.

National Grid, the company which supplies the gas has been vague about the numbers of households currently without a supply in the area, saying that the changing nature of the situation makes it difficult to be accurate.

However during a visit to the gas-cut control centre in St Mary's School in Little Grove, Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers said she was informed there were 202 households without gas today.

After bringing the numbers down to 150 in time for Christmas Day, gas engineers suffered a set back on Boxing Day as many of those who got power back lost it again.

Mrs Villiers said National Grid's head of operations David Luetchford told her “several hundred” households had been without gas on Boxing Day.

She said: “I'm still getting the message that in a few days everything will be getting back on but even when they reconnect everyone problems will be reoccurring for weeks which is incredibly depressing for people.

“The residents have been so patient and so stoic about this that I just feel for them so much.

“Even once they get their gas back the knowledge that it might not last is really awful for them.”

Despite saying that most of the water had been pumped out of the gas system before Christmas there is still a lot of water in the system, according to the company's press office.

Freezing conditions meant the company had to wait for much of the water to thaw.

The company last issued a statement on December 27, saying that work was ongoing.

It said: “While some water remains in the service pipes to customers’ properties, the main gas network is believed to be clear “Remaining water being is being pumped out of the system and gas supplies are being reconnected promptly.”

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

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.