Schools could be closed and thousands of people left without gas for days in central Scotland due to a mains failure.
Eight thousand properties are affected, with Gas infrastructure company SGN saying it will have to go door-to-door to turn off supplies in affected properties for safety reasons.
Temperatures in the area are below zero and are expected to remain low over the coming days. Falkirk Council said schools may have to close tomorrow and it would be working with SGN to care for vulnerable people affected.
SGN said it would provide electric heaters and cookers for the elderly, disabled, chronically sick and those with young children – and would be available from Camelon Community Centre.
In a statement, the company said a fault in a piece of equipment that regulates pressure in the gas network was to blame.
“While we repair the gas governor, we need to visit all affected properties to turn off your gas supply at the meter and we’ll need access to your home to turn off your gas supply,” SGN said.
“It will take us some days to reach everyone so if you do need to pop out or go to work, it would be helpful for us if you’re able to leave a key with a neighbour.
“With so many homes affected, it’s likely you could be without your gas supply for several days. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause. We’re doing all we can to restore gas supplies to the area as soon as possible.”
Falkirk Council said i had alerted housing and social work services to be on stand by to support SGN and was contacting head teachers to let parents know this evening about what schools may be affected.
“We have a list of vulnerable people in the area so we know were people who may have the most difficulty are,” a spokesman said.
He said schools could potentially close if the buildings are very cold, though all care homes in affected areas are currently fine.
“We are ready to support SGN in any way we can,” he said.