Prepayment energy tariffs (Pay As You Go)
Join British Gas for simple prepayment gas and electricity. You’ll join over a million of our customers on Pay As You Go. It takes just a few minutes to get a quote.
Why join British Gas for Pay As You Go?
- We could continue to supply your home with energy even if you run out of credit during the evenings and weekends
- You can top-up easily in many ways, depending on if you have a conventional key or card meter or a smart meter
- You can get £10 Emergency Credit if you run out of credit but can’t top up1
January price cap update
On 1st January, prices for our Variable tariffs will increase in line with the new Ofgem energy price cap.
Existing customers – Pay As You Go energy
Need help with your meter?
Get help with topping-up, or if you’re having trouble adding credit to your meter, plus lots more.
Want to change to a credit meter?
We can change your meter from Pay As You Go to credit.
If you’re moving in or out of a home with a Pay As You Go meter, you’ll need to tell us.
Can I switch suppliers with a prepayment meter?
If you’re currently with another supplier and have a prepayment meter, you must join British Gas on Pay As You Go to avoid problems with switching your supply. If you’d like to change to a credit meter, we may be able to help once we’ve started supplying your home.
If you rent your home, you can switch supplier as long as you’re paying the energy bill.
You can switch supplier if you’re on a Pay As You Go meter, unless you owe more than £500 for gas or electricity.
What’s a prepayment energy meter?
If you have a prepayment meter (also called a Pay As You Go meter) you pay for your gas or electricity before you use it. You do this by topping up your meter using a gas card or electricity key at a local Payzone or Post Office. If you have a smart meter, there are a few more topping-up options.
When you use gas or electricity, your meter will use up your available credit until it runs out - you’ll then need to top-up again.
What's a smart prepayment meter?
A smart prepayment meter, also known as a smart Pay As You Go meter, offers convenient ways to manage your energy:
Easily top up your meter online through our website or app.
Over the phone
Top up on our automated telephone line, with no need to queue to speak to anyone.
With a Smart Energy Monitor, track your energy usage in real-time. So you know when to turn down or switch off your home’s devices to make savings.
Effortless future top-ups
Save your debit/credit card details in your online account, and top up in in just a few clicks.
If you haven't yet upgraded to a smart meter page, ask us to install one after joining us.
What are the pros and cons of a prepayment (Pay As You Go) meter?
- You can have control of how much and how often you top-up
- As you pay for your energy before you use it, you won’t get a big bill at the end of the month or quarter
- Your meter shows how much credit you have left, so you can stay on top of your spending
- If you don’t top-up your meter up with enough credit, you won’t have gas or electricity
- You’ll need to top-up more in winter, when the weather is colder and it’s darker
- You need to make sure there’s always enough credit on the meter to cover standing charges, even when you’re on holiday, for example
Other services for Pay As You Go customers
Extra help from the Priority Services Register
If you're vulnerable or could be at risk if there’s a problem with your energy supply, join the Priority Services Register. It’s free and gives you helpful services like planned power cut warnings and free gas safety checks.
You can join our Priority Services Register if we supply your gas or electricity.
Warm Home Discount – Pay As You Go
Warm Home Discount is a yearly payment of £150 towards electricity bills for eligible customers. It’s usually paid in March. If you’re entitled to the discount and have a Pay As You Go meter, we’ll send you a Post Office voucher, with instructions on how to collect the credit and add it to your meter.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is the standing charge on a prepayment meter
As well as paying for any gas and electricity you use, you’ll pay a daily fee for being connected – this is called the standing charge. You pay this with a standard meter too. When you're on prepayment you need credit on your meter to pay it - even on days you don’t use any gas or electricity.
The amount of the standing charge you pay will depend on where you live and what energy tariff and supplier you have.
Are prepayment meters more expensive?
Since July 2023 all prepayment customers saw their energy prices lowered to match the costs of paying by Direct Debit. This was introduced by the UK Government, and saves a prepayment energy customer around £21 a year (Source Government website). We brought forward this price reduction in April 2023 for all our Pay As You Go customers, so they started saving earlier.
What if I can’t top up?
Most meters warn you when your credit falls to £2. If you can’t afford more credit or are unable to top-up, our meters provide £10 of Emergency Credit for gas or electricity. We also offer Friendly Credit on conventional electricity key meters and smart meters during certain period - mainly overnight, weekends and English Bank Holidays. This means that if you accidently run out of credit, the meter won’t cut you off during these periods.
Do I need to submit meter readings?
No - if you're on Pay As You Go your readings are sent to us each time you top up.
Can I change my meter type?
If we supply your energy and you qualify, we can change your meter from Pay As You.
If you use Emergency or Friendly Credit, you’ll need to repay it at your next top-up.