A YOUNG family is preparing for a chilly Christmas.
When Laura and Martin Whitworth moved into their new home in Lindley they were looking forward to cosy celebrations with their sons Cameron, four, Lewis, two, and baby Joshua, who is just two weeks old.
But when they tried to run the hot water at their home in Peebles Close they realised the gas supply had been cut off.
And now bosses at United Utilities, who fit and connect gas supplies, have told the shivering family it could be February before their heating is back on.
Laura, 23, said: "I am disgusted. It is not our fault the gas was cut off but we are suffering.
"We have struggled with hot water and we are all having to wrap up warm and gather around electric heaters. It is just lucky we have an electric oven because we have people coming round for Christmas dinner."
And although Laura's health inspector pleaded with the company the reply was: "No chance before Christmas."
"Both my doctor and health inspector are worried because Joshua is so young," said Laura.
"The boys have had to be taken to other people's houses to have baths every night and then we have had to bring them back here in the cold.
"And the heaters we do have are dangerous so I am constantly worried with the boys running around.
"We have a heater now which we have borrowed. That is making things easier but it takes about an hour to heat water up.
"This is going to cost us a fortune because not only do we have to pay to get reconnected - which is a disgrace because we did not even know - but the heaters and boiler are eating electricity."
But now after pressure from the Examiner, United Utilities have said they will do everything possible to help.
Spokesman Richard Felton said: "This family first got in touch with us on Tuesday to inform us their new home did not have gas.
"We can reconnect the home, but there is a charge involved and we have sent the homeowner a quote.
"The family must speak to our customer service team to tell us whether they accept the quote before United Utilities can proceed and reconnect gas supply.
"It is the responsibility of a homeowner to ensure that they have gas and other necessary utilities before they move in."