PAYNESVILLE -- On Tuesday afternoon, a third-party contractor doing excavation work hit and cut a six-inch underground steel natural gas main in Paynesville. Some residents were evacuated as a precaution, everyone can now return to their homes.

CenterPoint Energy has activated its emergency response plan and has sent crews and technicians to the scene in order to repair the damage. To carry out these repairs, gas service will need to be shut off to customers in and around Paynesville Tuesday evening.

For safety, CenterPoint Energy technicians must first turn off the gas service valve at each residential and business customer served by the main. In most cases, this shut-off can be done at the customer’s outside gas meter. This shut-off process is expected to take several hours. When these shut-offs are complete, the repair of the gas main is expected to take several more hours.

When the repair is done, CenterPoint Energy technicians will again go to every residential and business customer to restore gas service. For safety, technicians will need to enter customers’ premises to ensure that all gas appliances are properly lighted. These technicians are clearly identified as being with CenterPoint Energy. For customers who may not be available, technicians will return several times and ultimately leave contact information to call to have service restored. This work is expected to begin in the very early morning hours, hopefully just after midnight. Centerpoint will attempt to get around as quickly as possible but turn gas back on to residences and commercial businesses. Residents service will not be turned on until a Centerpoint employee has had a chance to enter your home or business.