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Everything you need to know when you top up British Gas meters

Disclaimer: The information on this page was correct as of August 20, 2021.

With all-new changes to how you top up British Gas keys and cards, prepayment customers have been left a little confused. That’s why we’re here to help. We’ve got the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about topping up your British Gas prepayment meters, so keep reading to find out what’s going on. As always, we’ve got you covered!

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How does topping up work?

If you have a prepayment meter, topping up your meter is how you pay for your gas and electricity. Instead of paying when you receive a bill, you pay for your energy before you use it. It’s often compared to a pay-as-you-go phone as you top up your meter with credit in order to receive energy in your home.

You’ll be given a key for your electricity meter and a card for your gas meter which you can take to certain shops and outlets to top up. Once you’ve bought your credit, all you have to do is put your key or card back into the meter and more energy will be credited to your account automatically.

Your meter will only use the energy you pay for in advance, so it’s important to top up regularly and make sure you don’t run out of credit and lose supply.

Find out more about topping up your meter

Where to top up British Gas prepayment meters

Recently, there’s been a few changes to how you can top up British Gas prepayment meters.

You can no longer top up at a PayPoint outlet, however, you can do so at:

Moving away from PayPoint also saw an increase in the minimum top-up amount to £5, however, this brought with it an uproar from loyal British Gas customers. Luckily, British Gas listened and brought the minimum back down to £1 again, meaning that you can top up anywhere from £1 to £49 per transaction (in whole pounds).

British Gas smart meter top up

If you have a smart prepayment meter, you have the luxury of being able to top up your meter without having to go to the shop.

When your smart meter was installed, you will have been sent a Smart Card to use when you top up. You don’t always need to use the card, as long as you have your Smart Card Number (SCN), you can still top-up. You can find your SCN written on your card or in the smart meter pack the engineer leaves with you.

As long as you have your Smart Card or SCN, you can top up in a number of different ways:

Automatic meter readings!

Did you know that with a smart meter you’ll never have to submit a meter reading again! 100% accurate bills, all the time. Give us a call to find out more about automatic meter readings.

How to top up British Gas smart meters manually

While your credit should be added to your meter automatically, sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as planned and you might need to top up your smart meter manually. Follow the steps below to find out how to top up your British Gas smart meter manually.

Topping up your smart gas meter

If you’re manually topping up your gas meter, you can do so either directly on your meter or through your in-home display (IHD). There are two different types of British Gas IHDs, one rectangular (the newer model) and one square-shaped (the older model).

To top up through your meter:

  1. Press ‘A’ to wake up the screen
  2. Press ‘A’ twice until you get to ‘Credit Entry’
  3. Press ‘B’, then use ‘A’ to insert the code. Press ‘B’ to move to the next digit
  4. Press and hold ‘B’ to submit your credit

To top up through your rectangular IHD:

  1. Go to the menu and select ‘Gas Prepay’
  2. Use the + and – buttons to enter your code and ‘next’ to move to the next digit
  3. Use the ‘next’ button to submit your code

To top up through your square-shaped IHD:

  1. Go to the menu and use the < and > buttons to select the ‘PAYG’ option
  2. Use the < and > buttons to go to ‘top-up’ and choose the right fuel type
  3. Press the flame button and enter your code
  4. Tap the tick to submit your code

Topping up your smart electricity meter

You can top up your smart electricity meter either directly through your meter or through your in-home display (IHD). There are two different versions of each so follow the instructions for whichever sounds most like yours.

To top up through your meter which has 2 barcodes:

  1. Press and hold the ‘A’ and ‘B’ buttons at the same time
  2. Use the ‘A’ button to enter the code and ‘B’ to move forwards
  3. Press and hold ‘A’ to confirm

To top up through your meter which has 3 barcodes:

  1. Press ‘A’ until you see ‘add credit’ and press ‘B’ to select
  2. Use ‘A’ to enter the code and ‘B’ to move forwards
  3. Press and hold ‘B’ to submit the code

To top up through your rectangular IHD:

  1. Go to the menu and select ‘Electricity Prepay’
  2. Use the + and – buttons to enter your code and ‘next’ to move to the next digit
  3. Use the ‘next’ button to submit your code

To top up through your square-shaped IHD:

  1. Go to the menu and use the < and > buttons to select the ‘PAYG’ option
  2. Use the < and > buttons to go to ‘top-up’ and choose the right fuel type
  3. Press the flame button and enter your code
  4. Tap the tick to submit your code

What to do if you’ve lost your key or card

It’s not hard to lose your British Gas top up key or card but, luckily, it’s even easier to get a new one.

The first thing you should do is contact British Gas, which you can do by calling 0330 100 0303 or via WhatsApp. They’ll ask a few questions about your meter and account and give you a reference number to take to either a Payzone or Post Office where they can issue you a replacement.

You’ll have to activate your key or card before you top it up, which is a simple matter of putting it into your meter for a minute.

If you have a smart prepayment meter with British Gas and lose your Smart Card, you may not need a replacement, as long as you know your Smart Card Number (SCN). This is the number written on your card, but you can also find it in the pack the engineer gives you when your smart meter is installed. However, you can still get a replacement if you call 0330 100 0303.

Moving into a new home with a British Gas prepayment meter

Set your utilities up in your new home!

Let us set everything up for you and leave you with one less thing to think about when moving house! Give us a call now, sit back and let us do the work.

If you’re moving and your new house has a prepayment meter, you’ll have to contact British Gas and let them know. You might need a new key or card to make sure you’re not paying for someone else’s energy usage.

If you already know your new house has a British Gas prepayment meter, you should call 0330 100 0303 at least 3 days before you move in and let them know:

  • When you’re moving
  • Your new address
  • Your current address
  • The Meter Serial Number (MSN) on your new meter (if you know)
  • The name of either your old landlord or the people moving into your old address

If you’ve found out about your prepayment meter once you’ve already moved, you should call 0330 100 0303 and:

  • Keep your opening meter reading handy
  • Check that you’re not paying someone else’s bill by using the old top-up key/card
  • Find out where and how you can top up

British Gas might be happy to change your meter to a credit meter, however, this depends on a number of factors, including your credit score and whether or not they think you’ll be able to keep on top of your monthly payments.

I’m going on holiday – do I still need to top up my meter?

Unfortunately, even if you’re not home, you’ll need to keep your meter topped up.

Even if you’re not using any electricity at all, you’ll still be paying a daily standing charge which is usually between 12p and 20p, which is the same no matter how much energy you’re using. You can find out how much your standing charge is by checking your bill or tariff information.

There will also be appliances that will be running in the background at all times, such as your fridge, which you’ll need to account for. If you don’t keep your meter topped up while you’re away, you could lose supply and come back to a number of broken or affected appliances.

What is emergency credit?

Each of your British Gas meters holds an extra £5 worth of credit for you to use if you run out of credit and can’t top up. If you dip into your emergency credit, you will have to pay back anything you’ve used, but it allows you to stay on supply for a little bit longer. Once it’s paid back in full, the emergency credit on your meter will reset so you can use it again.

If you run out of credit between 6pm and 9am, you’ll receive ‘friendly emergency credit’ which means that your supply won’t be cut off until 9am the next morning. If it’s a Sunday or Bank Holiday, your friendly credit will keep you on supply for the full day, no matter what time you run out. However, friendly credit will still need to be paid back when you next top up.

How to activate emergency credit on a traditional prepayment meter

If you have a traditional prepayment meter, you can activate your emergency credit when your credit falls below £2. All you have to do is put your key or card back into the meter and it will be activated automatically.

Your meter will use your remaining credit first before your emergency credit kicks in and you’ll only have to pay back any emergency credit you’ve used.

How to activate emergency credit on a smart prepayment meter

If you have a smart meter, you can activate your emergency credit when your credit falls below £2. If you can access your emergency credit, it will say ‘EmCr’ on the screen on your meter.

To use the emergency credit on a smart gas meter:

  1. Press the ‘A’ button twice to access the home screen
  2. If ‘EmCr’ is flashing on the screen, press the ‘A’ button and you’ll be prompted to activate your emergency credit
  3. Press ‘B’ to activate it. The screen will show ‘EmCr accepted’ and you can start using it

To use the emergency credit on a smart electricity meter with two barcodes:

  1. If ‘EmCr’ is flashing on the screen, press ‘B’
  2. Press ‘B’ again to accept your emergency credit. The screen will show ‘EmCr accepted’ and you can start using it.

To use the emergency credit on a smart electricity meter with three barcodes:

  1. If the home screen says ‘EmCr available’, press ‘A’ until you reach the emergency credit screen
  2. Press ‘B’ to accept and ‘B’ again to confirm. Your emergency credit be accepted and you can start using it

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