CHIPPING BARNET'S MP has criticised gas supplier National Grid for its customer service during East Barnet's gas cut crisis.

Theresa Villiers visited the emergency control centre set up by National Grid in St Mary's School to lend support to her constituents and found plenty who were unhappy with the situation.

“They haven't had as much information as they wanted,” she said.

“The control centre very often didn't have up to date information. “National Grid could have done better overall about keeping people informed.”

She gave National Grid credit for delivering residents letters by hand, although some people complained they did not receive these.

But she said it took questioning from her to find out the information one woman she met at the centre wanted from National Grid managers.

“She said she'd been trying to have that kind of conversation for days.

“It was very frustrating for the residents, especially those trying to make contingency plans as they couldn't get a straight answer from National Grid.

“I accept that it was a huge task and that it was a very flexible situation but they just did not know the answers themselves.”

Mrs Villiers said called for National Grid to have a “full assessment” of its communication with residents during the crisis.

Complaints flooded in to the Barnet Times between December 20 when gas went down to and New Year's Eve, when almost all the properties affected were finally reconnected.

Well over 1,000 properties were affected overall, leading to a miserable time in the run up to Christmas for thousands of residents, and a frozen Christmas Day and after for a smaller number.

Engineers visited more than 3,000 homes and more than 1,000 properties were reconnected, some more than once.

However not everybody wanted to complain.

One elderly woman, who did not want to give her name, said she wanted to thank the gas engineers who helped her get warm after ten days without heating or hot water.

She said: ““I was without gas for ten days and in my hall it was four degrees, it was quite bad.

”But I had 14 different workmen in my house over Christmas.

“One came from Stoke once came from Edinburgh, it was quite a fantastic thing at Christmas.

“I was very impressed by these men who came out from all over the country to help us. It was jolly hard work. Their wives and children must have missed them at Christmas.”