EAST Barnet's gas cut crises will be examined by a cross party panel of councillors.

An ad-hoc scrutiny committee will meet to investigate the response to the loss of gas to nearly 2,000 homes across East Barnet over the Christmas period last year.

The committee of seven councillors will look at the circumstances and impact of the incident, the response of the utility companies, the response of the council, the impact on public services and how future incidents might be averted.

This is the first time the council has set up such a committee to look into an emergency incident.

The committee will be chaired by the Mayor, councillor Brian Coleman.

He said: “The problems which arose in East Barnet just before Christmas led to one of the longest emergency responses the council has been involved with in recent years.

“That is why the council is taking this unprecedented action to fully investigate every aspect if the operation to see what problems arose and what lessons must be learned by all the parties who played a part in responding to the incident.”

East Barnet residents were left shivering in their homes after a burst water main led to water flooding gas pipes in the area in the week before Christmas.

National Grid engineers were drafted in from across the country to pump out the water and fix the problem.

However the sub-zero temperatures hampered efforts as much of the water froze.

Some residents were left without gas on Christmas Day, and others did not get their supply back until New Year's Eve.

Residents have been scathing in their assessment of the response to the problem by suppliers and the council.

As the gas supplier National Grid came under the most fire with customers calling their reaction “a fiasco” and “chaos” and saying that the company had “appalling customer relations”.

But it was Barnet Council who was in charge of co-ordinating the response to the crisis, causing others to say they were less than impressed with the authority's organisation.

Several residents have since launched a campaign to get more compensation from the supplier, which has offered them £30 for every 24 hours they were without gas, and an extra £100 if they were still without gas on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Representatives from National Grid, other utility companies and council officers will be asked to give evidence at the meeting.

Cllr Coleman said that National Grid will get the chance to explain to residents why getting their supply back online took so long.