What to do if your Pay As You Go meter isn't working


We know it's worrying if your Pay As You Go (prepayment) meter stops working. But it can be easy to sort out what's gone wrong. Our guide tells you what you need to do.

First, check that you have credit on your meter

It can be easy to miss topping up your meter when you’re busy. If you've run out of credit when you didn't expect to, you may have overlooked the daily standing charge and payments for any debt you might have.

We'll lend you some emergency credit to keep you going until you can top up. Use the link to emergency credit at the bottom of the page to find out what to do.

How to check electricity meters

If the screen on your meter says ‘debt’, you’ve run out of credit.

Your meter will tell you the smallest amount of top up you need to get it going again. Press the display button (usually blue) to go to screen ‘B’ to find out.

How to check gas meters

If the screen on your meter says ‘off’, press button ‘A’. If you've run out of credit, your meter will show you how much you need to pay back. But you can top-up any amount to get your gas supply back on. At least 30% of what you top-up will be used as credit on your meter - even if you need to pay back a lot.

If you don't have any gas supply but you’ve got credit and the meter screen says ‘on’, turn off all your gas appliances. Then call the National Gas Emergencies number on 0800 111 999. It could mean there's a fault somewhere so it's best to be safe and get it checked.

Trouble putting credit on your meter

If you're having problems topping up your meter, wipe your key or card gently with a clean dry cloth and put it back in. If this doesn't work, contact us and we'll be happy to help.

If you've got a token that isn’t working, take it back to the shop you where you got it so they can give you a new one. Remember to keep your receipts, as they may come in handy as a record of what you've bought.  

If you've got an error message

You can fix most problems by wiping your key or card with a clean dry cloth and putting back in your meter. It's also worth checking you’re using the right key or card. If you use an old key or card, or someone else’s, you'll get an error message.

If you keep having problems, contact us so we can help.

Call us if you get these error messages:

  • Electricity meters – 1, 3, 40, 99, A5, A8, C1, E1, E6, KEY, OFF
  • Gas meters – BATTERY FAIL, BATTERY LOW, CALL HELP, ----- (five dashes), FAIL, M*****, PASS

These mean there's a fault with your meter, key or card that we need to fix. Note down your meter serial number (near the barcode on your meter) and contact us as soon as possible as your supply may stop. 

Blank screen on electricity meter

If the screen is blank and the electricity isn't on, there might be a power cut. Take a look at our power cut information and check with your neighbour. Then contact your local distributor. Use the link at the bottom of the page to find their emergency number.

If there isn't a power cut and you don't have electricity, get in touch. Before you do, note down your meter serial number (near the barcode on your meter), and anything shown on the screen.

Blank screen on gas meter

Press and hold red button 'A'. If the screen starts working, you've fixed the problem. If it doesn't, contact us as soon as possible as your supply may stop.

What to expect if we need to visit you

If we have to visit you to fix a problem, we'll aim to get to you:

  • Within three hours on a working day (Monday to Friday), if you tell us between 8am and 8pm.
  • Within four hours on weekends or bank holidays, if you tell us between 9am and 5pm.
  • The following day, if you contact us outside of these times.

And if we don't get to you within these times, we'll pay you £30 as part of our Guaranteed Standards.

Important - if we find you've caused the problem (for example, by not putting enough credit on your meter), we'll charge you for the visit. We'll put the cost on your meter so you pay it back over a period of time. 

Calorific value fault on gas meters

Find out about the latest news on the calorific value fault on Pay As You Go meters using the link below.