Important health information. Coronavirus update and FAQs

How we’re supporting our customers and employees.

Covid-19 is a huge challenge for everyone. So we’re working hard to prioritise emergencies and the needs of our most vulnerable customers.

Contacting us during the outbreak

Please help us protect the customers who need us most. Only call us if you have an emergency (e.g. no heating or hot water, blocked drains, no fresh water) or if you’re a prepay customer.

If your call is about something else, we’ve asked our customer service advisers to politely explain that they can’t help you right now.

So please take a look at our FAQs first – and only call us if it’s really urgent.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) - updated 2nd April at 9:00am

I have an appointment booked. Will it still go ahead?

Our engineers can still help you if you have an emergency (e.g. no heating or hot water, blocked drains, no fresh water). But please let us know if you think you could be at risk of Covid-19 or are self-isolating so we can take proper safety precautions to protect both you and our engineers. Call us on 0333 200 8899 and we’ll find a way to help.

What if I have an emergency?

Our engineers can still help you if you have an emergency. But please let us know if you think you could be at risk of Covid-19 or are self-isolating so we can take proper safety precautions to protect both you and our engineers. Call us on 0333 200 8899 and we’ll find a way to help.

What if I think I might have Covid-19 but I have a heating/hot water emergency?

We’re working really hard to help vulnerable customers and those with emergencies – whatever their health situation – but please let us know if you think you could be at risk so we can take proper safety precautions. If it’s an emergency, call us on 0333 200 8899 and we’ll find a way to help.

My appointment has been cancelled. When can I rebook?

We really can’t say for sure right now as the coronavirus situation changes on a daily basis. We’ll update the answer to this question when we know more – so keep checking these FAQs.

I have an appointment booked. Can I cancel it?

We’re cancelling all non-urgent appointments – such as annual services – for the time being so that we can focus on emergencies and helping our most vulnerable customers. We’ll confirm that your appointment has been cancelled by SMS, email or letter, so look out for that.

You’ll be able to rebook later – but we can’t say when for sure right now as the coronavirus situation changes on a daily basis. We’ll update the answer to this question when we know more – so keep checking these FAQs.

How is British Gas keeping customers safe during engineer visits?

When you book an emergency engineer appointment we’ll ask you if:

  • You or anyone in your home has been diagnosed with Covid-19
  • You or anyone in your home is self-isolating
  • Anyone in your home is at higher risk – i.e. over 70, diabetic etc

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, we’ll work with you to assess your need for an engineer visit before deciding what to do next.

Our engineer will also call you on the day of your appointment and ask the same set of questions, in case anything has changed since you booked.

When an engineer does visit a customer’s home, they’ll take additional precautions – including hand-washing – before, during and after the appointment. They’ll protect you and your family members by keeping a safe distance at all times – and we ask you to do the same.

How are you making sure your engineers are protected and don’t spread the virus to customers?

We’re offering full pay to all employees who are self-isolating or looking after children or other family members during this difficult time. It’s the right thing to do and we don’t want engineers to feel pressured into working if they’re unwell. We’re also contacting customers before our engineers visit to make sure they haven’t been diagnosed with Covid-19, advised to self-isolate or have recently returned from a high-risk area.

What are you doing to help vulnerable customers?

We know things are particularly tough for vulnerable customers who need to self-isolate and we’re putting in place processes to prioritise their needs. We’ll be contacting our most vulnerable prepayment customers directly very soon.

We’re also following official health advice and working with industry bodies to look after all our customers during this difficult time. If we all look out for each other, we’ll get through this together.

To find out more about how the government is responding to the latest coronavirus outbreak and for the latest energy update from them: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19

I have an appointment booked – can I move it to a later date?

We’re cancelling all non-urgent appointments for the time being so that we can focus on emergencies and helping our most vulnerable customers. We’ll confirm that your appointment has been cancelled by SMS, email or letter, so look out for that.

You’ll be able to rebook later – but we can’t say when for sure right now as the coronavirus situation changes on a daily basis. We’ll update the answer to this question when we know more – so keep checking these FAQs.

Top-ups for prepayment customers with a smart meter

If you have a smart meter, you can top up online or on our app – it’s quick, easy and you can do it from home. You can also top up over the phone using our automated payment service on 0333 202 9612 and the credit will be automatically added to your meter. 

Top-ups for prepayment customers without a smart meter

On the 23rd March the government set out that people across the UK should leave home as infrequently as possible and only for a handful of very specific and essential reasons. Essential reasons include food shopping and topping up energy. Many of the outlets you have used to top up previously are still open because they are classed by the government as essential businesses – including post offices, newsagents and local ‘corner’ shops. You can check for store openings here www.payzone/consumers and https://www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder

Right now, our immediate focus is on helping those non-smart prepayment customers we’ve identified as medically vulnerable. We’re contacting these customers directly to let them know how we can support them over the weeks ahead.

If you’re unable to top-up yourself for any reason, please think first about asking a friend, family member or a trusted neighbour to top-up for you. Asking someone to top-up for you is absolutely fine and one of the fastest and safest ways to top-up at the moment. If you can, it’s also a good idea to top up your meter with a bit more than you usually would.

Our call centre teams are only dealing with emergencies right now, but if you’re unable to top-up yourself and you haven’t got anyone to help you, please call 0330 100 0303 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. We can help – but please understand that we’ve asked our teams to check that it’s an emergency first.

I can’t work because of Covid-19 and I’m worried about paying my bills or topping up

We understand that these are exceptional circumstances for everyone, especially our vulnerable customers. The government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers to ensure no-one faces any additional hardships in heating or lighting their home during the coronavirus outbreak. This package covers both credit and prepayment meter customers – and it includes a range of options from debt repayment plans to hardship funds where necessary. For more information on the package put forward by the Government and what Ofgem, the industry regulator, is doing during the outbreak, visit Ofgem.gov.uk.

Importantly, the government has also asked energy suppliers not to disconnect anyone on a credit meter during the outbreak.

But if you're struggling to top up, please let us know - we're here to help. We want to support you as much as we can during this time. Call us 0333 202 9802 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm and we’ll talk to you about how we can help you.

And for more information about other organisations who can help if you’re struggling to pay visit:  https://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-support/bills-and-payments/help-if-youre-struggling-to-pay

Are British Gas employees defined as key workers by the UK Government?

On Friday, 20th March, the UK Government defined a list of key workers whose efforts will be essential as the UK responds to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. This list included the utilities, communication and financial services sectors and covers many employees of Centrica plc (including British Gas) – e.g. engineers, contact centre teams, planning & resource, IT & data infrastructure, etc. The Government definition is included in their Guidance for Schools.

To help schools to clearly identify parents and carers of children who are key workers within our organisation we have issued them with a letter where applicable. Schools can verify this letter by also asking to see their British Gas photographic ID card – all British Gas employees, without exception, have one.

You’re sending preloaded Smartcards or keys to customers to add credit to their meters. Can I get one?

We’ve started sending preloaded Smartcards and keys to a very specific group of our customers; those that we already know are medically vulnerable. We’re able to identify these customers using information that they’ve already told us about their individual circumstances. If we already know that you are medically vulnerable, we’ll send you your preloaded Smartcard or key to help you through this outbreak by post in the coming days. You do not need to contact us – this will help us get to emergencies faster too.

If we don’t already know you as a medically vulnerable customer, you can find some more detailed advice on this page under our questions on topping up.

As a reminder, topping-up your energy meter is considered an essential reason to leave the house and outlets where you can top-up – such as local newsagents and post offices – are classed as essential businesses, and most remain open. Asking someone to top-up for you is one of the fastest and safest ways to top-up at the moment. If you can, it’s also a good idea to top-up your meter with a bit more than you usually would.

We’re only dealing with emergencies at the moment and so we’d ask only to call if you really can’t find anyone to top-up for you. In this situation our advisers can help to find a solution, such as taking a payment from you over the phone and sending a Smartcard or key to you in the post.

I’m concerned about how you’re using my data

If you’d like to raise an urgent concern about how we have used your personal data, you can get in touch with our data privacy team directly at privacy@centrica.com.