Updated at 5 p.m.
Gas should be flowing through lines in the city's South End by about 6 p.m. this evening, but that doesn't necessarily mean residents will have service, a Union Gas spokesperson said this afternoon.
Andrea Stass told NorthernLife.ca while natural gas will be re-introduced into the gas lines this evening, the 47 or so Union Gas technicians on the ground still have to visit each of the approximately 1,700 customers to get appliances back online.
Technicians have already shut off the gas lines to the affected customers, which does not entail entering the homes. Stass said one Union Gas representative can visit about five customers in an hour.
"We actually have to enter every home and business, but in the event someone is not home, we will leave a contact number so they can arrange for someone to come by," she said.
Stass added that while the company has said some homes might not have service until Saturday, that's mostly because Union Gas assumes some people won't be home when the technicians come knocking.
Priority customers — schools and businesses — will be back online this evening (technicians will be out in the field until about 11 p.m.) or tomorrow morning. Union Gas does have an insurance adjuster ready for those businesses who believe the loss of service has impacted their business.
The adjuster can be reached Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the Union Gas contact centre.
The number to call is 1-888-774-3111.
Some 1,700 homes in the area of Loach's Road near Regent Street South are still without gas this morning after construction crews damaged a gas line at about 7 p.m. yesterday, said Greater Sudbury Police Service.
The gas is currently off for those customers as the line is being repaired and the area is safe and secure, said Andrea Stass, spokesperson for Union Gas.
“Restoring gas to 1,700 customers is going to take some time,” Stass said. “We are bringing in crews from surrounding areas to help out so we can do that as quickly as possible.
“We don't have an estimate right now, in terms of how long the gas service will be out.”
Four homes in the immediate area of the leak were evacuated, she said. However, everyone has returned home. Once the repairs are complete, Union Gas employees have to go into each affected home and business and turn on their appliances individually.
All Union Gas representatives carry identification and Stass said residents should ask to see that identification before allowing anyone into their home.
The impacted area is at the south end of Sudbury from Paris and Walford Road to Algonquin and Field and Country Side Road, just north of Highway 17. The area is primarily residential, there are several businesses and four schools, Stass said.
For Sudbury Catholic District School Board, Holy Cross and St. Benedict are the impacted schools. The gas leak affected the schools' hot water, but the heat isn't on at the schools at this time, so that's a non-issue, said Gina Tullio, the board's communications officer, in an email. The school board was told to have someone standing by to turn the hot water back on when given the go-ahead.
Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Algonquin Road Public School and R.L. Beattie Public School are the affected schools with Rainbow District Public School Board. The schools are open as well.
"Fortunately, the weather is on our side today," said Nicole Charette, senior adviser, corporate communications for Rainbow. "The schools, therefore, are experiencing minimal impact."
“We reached out to every affected customer by phone, and we will visit each home and business at least twice in an attempt to contact residents and light their gas appliances,” Stass said.
Don't light the appliances yourself, she said. Union Gas representatives will leave contact information, and residents who weren't home at the time are asked to call Union Gas and set up an appointment to have their appliances turned back on.
“Wait for someone who is licensed and trained to do it safely,” she said. “We will get to everyone, and we appreciate residents' patience in this process.”
Union Gas is providing updates via social media. Follow Union Gas on Twitter for that information.
At the time of the gas leak, Greater Sudbury Police Service closed Loach's Road at Regent Street. The road has re-opened.