24th January at 06:00am. Latest Covid-19
Updates and FAQs

How we're supporting and protecting customers and colleagues.

We’re here to help if you need us
but we're pausing non-essential work for now

Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, keeping everyone safe has been our top priority. And with new national lockdowns in place across the UK during the coldest months of the year, we need to focus our efforts on essential jobs that keep customers’ homes warm and working this winter.

That means we’ll be cancelling all non-essential jobs until the end of February. If you have a non-urgent appointment booked with us, we’ll be in touch shortly to cancel it and reschedule – there’s no need to call us. For a full list of emergency jobs we can help with, take a look at the FAQs below.

Need help with something else? Don’t forget you can pay bills, top up your smart meter, submit meter readings and much more online.

Important industrial action information

Unfortunately, due to strike action by some engineers on Monday 25th January, we’re only able to offer a very limited emergency service. During this time we’ll be prioritising our most vulnerable customers, but we’ll do our best to help you as quickly as we can.

As it’s winter, our phone lines are much busier than usual so please do what you can through your online account if possible – it’ll help our call centre team answer calls from vulnerable customers and emergencies faster. Thanks for understanding and bearing with us.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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

Only if it’s for something on the list of emergencies we can help with – see below. Due to tightened safety measures, we’ve put all non-essential appointments on hold until the end of February.

That means we’re not offering things like annual service visits, non-urgent repairs and smart meter installations for now. However, if you’ve already booked an appointment for a new boiler installation, it will go ahead as planned.

If you’ve already booked a non-urgent appointment, we’ll be in touch by SMS, email or letter to let you know it’s cancelled.

Here’s the full list of what we can help you with at the moment:

  • No heating
  • No hot water
  • No electricity
  • Leaking water and / or taps not working
  • Toilet blocked or not working (e.g. problems with flush)
  • Blocked drains / sewage overflowing (indoors or outdoors)
  • Bath or shower facilities not working
  • No access to fresh water
  • Fridge / freezer breakdown
  • Cooker or hob breakdown
  • Washing machine breakdown
  • Landlord Safety Check (CP12) checks/open flue servicing

Industrial action on Monday 25th January

Unfortunately due to strike action by some engineers, our services are even further limited at this time. We’ll prioritise our most vulnerable customers, but we’ll do our best to help anyone who needs us as quickly as we can.

What if I have an emergency?

We’re here to help you with any of the emergency situations on the list below – call us on 0333 200 8899.

IMPORTANT: Please let us know if anyone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19, has symptoms of Covid-19 or are self-isolating/shielding, so we can take proper safety precautions to protect you and our engineers.

Here’s the full list of what we can help you with at the moment:

  • No heating
  • No hot water
  • No electricity
  • Leaking water and / or taps not working
  • Toilet blocked or not working (e.g. problems with flush)
  • Blocked drains / sewage overflowing (indoors or outdoors)
  • Bath or shower facilities not working
  • No access to fresh water
  • Fridge / freezer breakdown
  • Cooker or hob breakdown
  • Washing machine breakdown
  • Landlord Safety Check (CP12) checks/open flue servicing

Industrial action on Monday 25th January

Unfortunately due to strike action by some engineers, our services are even further limited at this time. We’ll prioritise our most vulnerable customers, but we’ll do our best to help anyone who needs us as quickly as we can.

How will engineers work safely in my home?

Keeping you and our engineers safe is our top priority. Here’s how we’re doing it:

Before your appointment

When you book, we’ll ask if anyone in your home:

  • has Covid-19 symptoms
  • is shielding or vulnerable
  • has been asked to self-isolate

Your engineer will also call ahead on the day of your appointment to see if anything has changed.

During your appointment


Our engineers follow the latest guidance and will:

  • wash or sanitise their hands before entering your home – and at regular intervals during the appointment
  • wear face masks (unless they are medically exempt from doing so)
  • wear disposable or protective gloves as appropriate during the job
  • keep at least two metres away from you at all times

If a job requires two engineers, they’ll only come together for tasks that need two pairs of hands and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when they are not able to keep two metres apart.

Extra precautions

If anyone in your home is vulnerable or shielding, our engineers will take extra precautions, including wearing goggles and a respirator mask. If you’ve told us that anyone in the property has tested positive for Covid-19 OR has symptoms of Covid-19, they will also wear a cover-all suit.

In line with official advice, our engineers aren’t wearing face coverings or respirator masks as standard in other cases.

How you can help us keep everyone safe

  • Where you can, please open doors and windows to ensure good ventilation while our engineer is in your home
  • If possible, please ask everyone in your home to stay in another room while the engineer is working OR if not possible, keep at least two meters away from them at all times
  • If anyone in your home has the NHS Track and Trace app, please make sure you keep your phones with you during the appointment to help keep the app alerts as accurate as possible
  • Please let us know in advance if anyone in your home has Covid-19 symptoms in the two weeks before we visit OR has been asked to self-isolate for any reason. We can still help with emergencies, but we’ll need to tell our engineer to take extra precautions before they visit. If it’s not an emergency job, please cancel or reschedule your appointment for a later date. Just call 0333 200 8899 or simply cancel or reschedule your appointment online.

My appointment has been cancelled. When can I rebook?

We can’t say for sure yet – sorry. But we’re monitoring the situation and we’ll resume non-urgent appointments as soon as it’s safe to do so. Keep an eye on this FAQ for updates.

And if you have an emergency, please get in touch and we’ll do all we can to help. You’ll find full details under the What if I have an emergency? question higher up this page.

Do you have any tips for fixing common problems myself?

Yes! Quite a few. Check out our troubleshooting guides. We cover everything from what to do if you have no heating or hot water, right down to how to read your meter or reset the password to your online account.

What if I have an emergency appointment booked but I could be at risk of Covid-19?

Keeping everyone safe is our top priority. So if anyone in your home develops symptoms of Covid-19 (high temperature, new continuous cough, loss of taste/smell) in the two weeks before we visit OR has been told to self-isolate, it’s really important to tell us.

We can still help with emergencies, but please let us know in advance if anyone in your home has Covid-19 symptoms or are self-isolating so our engineer can take extra precautions by calling 0333 200 8899 before your appointment.

Why are some of your engineers taking strike action at this time?

British Gas is one of the oldest companies in the world, with a history stretching back over 200 years. We know that you expect us to give great customer service and stay ahead of the times by offering forward-thinking products and services.  

But to do that, we need to modernise the way we do things right across our business – including updating some of the employment terms and conditions we offer to our team, some of which go back a long way.   

As an example, we’re asking some colleagues to move from a 37 hour to a 40 hour working week. But we are not changing base pay or pension arrangements for anyone.  

These changes will help us make improvements to the service we can offer our customers, like being able to give you a better choice of appointment times. 

More than 80% of our people have already chosen to accept the updated terms we’ve offered and we hope to resolve this dispute as soon as possible.  

How long will the strike action last?

The GMB union has informed us of its intention to strike between 00:01 and 23:59 on Monday 25th January.  

Right now, our priority is to minimise the impact on you, our customers, and we’re working as hard as we can to resolve the situation and bring an end to this dispute. 

We're so sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Can I find an engineer myself and claim the cost back from British Gas during the strike?

If you find yourself without heating or hot water and we’re not able to help you within four days, you can find a local Gas Safe registered engineer and we’ll reimburse you.

You could also try these quick, handy tips to try fixing the problem yourself first.

Here’s what you need to do before you book an appointment with a third-party engineer.

  • Access your online account and check our appointment availability – if you see an appointment within the next four days, please book one.
  • If you don’t see any available appointments within four days, please go ahead and find a local engineer to help (please make sure they are Gas Safe registered).
  • You’ll need to pay the engineer for any work completed upfront and get an invoice detailing all the repair work undertaken.
  • After the work is complete, please email the invoice to us at ServicesCustomerTeam@britishgas.co.uk including your name, address and customer number – we’ll pay you back within 28 days (directly to your bank account if you pay us by Direct Debit or by cheque if not). Please note we can only respond to receipts and invoices at this email address.

Please note: We can only reimburse you for work that is covered by the Terms and Conditions of the active cover you have with us. You can find these on the policy documents we sent you or in your online account.  If you have an excess on your policy, we will deduct that from the value of the refund. So, for example, if the cost of the work is £160 and there is an excess of £60 on your British Gas policy, we will refund you £100.

What are you doing to help vulnerable customers?

Supporting and protecting vulnerable customers is very important to us. So we’ve put systems in place to make sure their calls get through sooner and their needs are treated as high priority.

At the start of the pandemic, we worked closely with the Government and energy industry bodies to develop plans to support those most affected by Covid-19.

To find out more about how we support vulnerable customers, visit our Priority Services Register page.

What are you doing to support carers?

Right now, 70% of unpaid carers are having to provide more care for their loved ones during the coronavirus outbreak. So if you look after someone every day, or for a few hours a week, there’s support available for you.

To find out the ways we can help, visit our Priority Services Register page.

We’re working with Carers UK to help give carers the support they need, when they need it. Learn more about our partnership and see our short film on how talking about caring can help here.

To learn more about the resources available, visit Carers UK.

How can I top up my prepay smart meter?

It’s quick and easy to top up without leaving the house. Just access your online account or use our app. If you don’t have an online account or are topping up for someone else, you can top up online as a guest here. You can also top up over the phone using our automated payment service on 0333 202 9612. The credit will automatically be added to your meter right away. For more information about how top up your smart meter, including how to top up for the first time and how to top up in person click here.

How can I top up my conventional (non-smart) meter?

Going out to top up your energy is classed as an ‘essential purpose’ under all current local lockdown rules.

If you can, it’s a good idea to top up your meter with a bit more than you usually would so you don’t need to go out again if you’re asked to self-isolate this winter  Find out more information about where to top up your meter.

If you’re self-isolating and can’t go out yourself, please check if a friend or family member can do the top-up for you.

If there’s no one else who can top up for you, please don’t worry – we’re here for you. Just give us a call on 0333 202 9862  and we’ll find a way to help you.

I’m worried about paying my bills - can you help?

We’re here for you. If you're struggling, please let us know by calling 0333 202 9802 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm to discuss your options.

You can also get information about other organisations who can help if you’re struggling to pay.

How are you supporting HomeCare and Services customers facing financial hardship due to Covid-19?

There are lots of ways we can help keep your home covered – there’s no need to cancel your agreement. Just give us a call on 0333 200 8899 or start a live chat and we’ll try to find a way to help that works for you.

What’s the best way to submit meter readings right now?

The quickest, easiest way is to submit a reading online or on our app. You can even submit meter readings on behalf of a friend or family member – you just need their name, email address and customer reference number. Regular meter readings help us make sure you only pay for what you use, so you’ll get more accurate bills.

How do I spot a fake British Gas email?

According to recent research, phishing scams have increased by 600%* since the Covid-19 outbreak. And they often impersonate big businesses, like British Gas, to try and get sensitive information from customers.

We’re currently aware of fake emails being sent to people telling them they have an overdue bill. If you get one of these, please attach the fake email to a new email and send it to phishing@centrica.com or just delete it from your email account.

How to tell if an email is really from us

  • Our emails will always address you by name, never ‘Dear customer’
  • We’ll never ask you to update or confirm your personal details, or your account number over email
  • Look out for odd email addresses. For example, our emails to you will always be sent from an ‘@britishgas.co.uk’ account
  • If in doubt, don’t click any links and send the suspicious email to phishing@centrica.com to help us keep everyone safe

Get more helpful tips and advice to protect yourself against phishing scams.

*According to KnowBe4’s Q1 2020 Top-Clicked Phishing Report.

How are you using my data?

If you have an urgent concern about how we’ve used your personal data, please contact our Data Privacy Team.