Energy Bills Don't Have To Be Stressful

Let Selectra's experts find you a fantastic deal today. Call us now for free!

020 3966 4692 or

British Gas Pay As You Go: tariffs, help & support

The British Gas Pay As You Go energy tariff, also known as Safeguard PAYG, gives you total control over your energy costs: You pay for the energy you use as you use it. Nothing more, nothing less. Need more information? Look no further. In this guide, we have put together all the information you need.

Is British Gas Pay As You Go for me?

When shopping around for the best energy supply deal it’s always best to know where your priorities lie - other than the procuring of a supply of energy to your home, of course.

If, for example, you need to keep an iron grip on your energy usage and the budget you have made available for such usage, you might find that signing up to a Fixed or Tracker British Gas contract doesn’t give you enough control.

With the Safeguard PAYG variable deal, you can control your usage down to the pound. Not only that, there are no exit fees, lengthy commitments, or regular fixed payment dates, giving you the flexibility to plan around your constraints.

For prospective customers that are not able to pass credit checks, the Pay As You Go British Gas tariff will automatically be assigned to you.

How to get British Gas Pay As You Go

British Gas Safeguard PAYG is available to customers that have had prepayment meters fitted in their homes or that have smart meters working as prepayment meters.

If you don’t have the required meter but would like to sign up to the Pay As You Go tariff, you will have to contact British Gas to get a Gas Safe registered engineer to install one. Please be aware that you may be charged a fee for the installation.

Once installed, simply load up your prepayment meter with your allocated card/key and use as you please.

Want to get a PAYG Tariff for your gas and electricity? Call us to find out how to switch without any hassle or expensive equipment changes. Call 020 3966 4692 or get a free callback now.

British Gas Safeguard PAYG tariff

The British Gas Safeguard tariff is the only pay as you go tariff that the supplier offers. It has the same rates for all prepayment customers, no matter if you have a standard or a smart meter. Like the other Big Six energy suppliers, this standard pay as you go tariff is set at the price cap. This would cost the average household around £1,070 per year.

Being a variable tariff, your rates on this tariff Safeguard PAYG tariff could fluctuate. If you prefer to have a fixed tariff (in which your rates are protected), you’ll need to switch to either EDF Energy or Nabuh Energy, as these are the only two suppliers that currently provide fixed-rate plans for paya as you go customers.

In the table below, you’ll find the standard rates for the British Gas Safeguard tariff. Calculations are based on a household in London that consumes the average amount of electricity and gas, which is 2,900 kwh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year.

British Gas Safeguard PAYG Rates
Cost type Price
Electricity unit rate 17.4p per kWh
Electricity standing charge 28.27p per day
Gas unit rate 3.561p per kWh
Gas standing charge 36.34p per day
Estimated total spend/week £23
Estimated total spend/year £1,168

British Gas Pay As You Go smart meter

electricity meter

British Gas has introduced a new way to pay for your energy and keep tabs on your usage with its Smart Pay As You Go, or Safeguard PAYG v2, tariff. Customers on this new PAYG tariff will receive Smart Pay As You Go meters and smart cards through which to top up.

On the smart meter you can see how much energy you use, your energy expenditure and how much credit you have left. You can also view your top up history and set alerts for when you are running low on credit.

For the moment, Smart Pay As You Go is considered as separate from the original Safeguard PAYG tariff, though the same pricing applies. However, British gas has committed to giving all Pay As You Go customers the opportunity to upgrade to a smart prepayment meter by 2020.

Looking for a Smart Meter?Our energy experts can set you up with a smart meter tariff hassle-free. All you have to do is enjoy the savings. Call 020 3966 4692 or get a free callback now.

British Gas Pay As You Go card

When you sign up to a British Gas Pay As You Go tariff you will receive a Pay As You Go card(s) for your gas and/or electricity meters. Each card will have a unique 19 digit Card Number and a customer reference number on the front side.

Customers will need these cards to top up their prepayment meters - the top up process differs slightly for those on the original British Gas Safeguard PAYG tariff and those on Smart Pay As You Go. To find out how to activate your cards and top up, head to our British Gas Top Up guide by clicking the link in the box below.

Don’t know how to top up?Don’t sweat it. We’ve prepared a guide for both Safeguard PAYG and Smart Pay As You Go customers. Click the following link to head straight there: British Gas Top Up guide.

British Gas Pay As You Go app

If you have a smart meter (with Smart Pay As You Go), you can access the data collected and available on your meter through the British Gas Pay As You Go app, available for download in the App Store and Google Play.

With the app, you can keep an eye on your energy usage, your energy expenditure, and the amount of credit you have left on your smart prepayment meter from anywhere - providing that can access the internet on your mobile - and whenever you like.

Simply download the app and login using your British Gas account details. If you can’t remember your login details, check out the “I’ve forgotten my British Gas login details” section of our British Gas Login guide.

British Gas Emergency Credit for Pay As You Go

All British Gas prepaid meters provide £5 of emergency credit. You can activate the British Gas Emergency Credit once your credit gets down to £2.

You must pay back the used emergency credit the next time you top up. If it runs out, your energy supply may be cut until you repay it.

Some suppliers provide £10 pounds of emergency credit, rather than just £5. Call 020 3966 4692 now to switch to a provider with more emergency credit.

How to activate emergency credit on your electric and gas meter

If you have a standard pay as you go electricity or gas meter, you’ll need your top-up key to activate the emergency credit.

To top up a British Gas smart meter, see the corresponding section below.

Activate Emergency Credit on your Electricity Smart Meter

Does your smart meter have two barcodes on it? If so, do the following to activate your Emergency Credit:

  1. Press the B button until you see EmCr flashing on the screen.
  2. Press the B button to accept the emergency credit.

If your smart meter has three barcodes on it, you should do the following to activate the emergency credit:

  1. Your home screen should say EmCr Available.
  2. Press the A button until you reach the emergency credit screen.
  3. It will change to say Accept Emcr?
  4. Press the B button to accept, and then press it again to confirm.

Activate Emergency Credit on your Gas Smart Meter

To activate the emergency credit on your gas smart meter, go to your meter and do the following:

  1. Press the A button twice until you see a screen that flashes EmCr.
  2. Press the A button again. You will then be prompted to activate the emergency credit.
  3. Press the B button to confirm. The screen should then say EmCr Accepted.

British Gas Friendly Credit

With British Gas Friendly Credit, your gas and electric will never cut off during evenings, Sundays or bank holidays. Some suppliers, such as EDF Energy provide this security on Saturdays as well.

You must have credit (this includes emergency credit) remaining on the meter for the British Gas Friendly Credit to activate.

Can my electric cut off at night?

If your credit runs out after 5 p.m. (6 p.m. in the summer), British Gas Friendly Emergency Credit will automatically be applied. You must have had at least £0.01 on the meter at 6:00 p.m. for the credit to activate. The credit will last until 9 a.m. the next morning.

Will my electric or gas run out on a Bank Holiday?

With the British Gas Friendly Credit, your gas or electric will not be cut off on a bank holiday. Nor will it be cut off on a Sunday. Your energy supply will last until 9 a.m. the following day.

Remember, you will need to pay back the used British Gas Friendly Credit the next time you top up your pay as you go meter.

British Gas Pay As You Go number

old phone

For queries related to British Gas pay as you go, you should call 0330 100 0303. Representatives are available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

By calling this British Gas pay as you go number, you can get help with the following queries:

  • Help topping up
  • Changing from pay as you go to direct debit
  • Using emergency credit

Prepayment meter problems?Call us to solve your top issues quickly and without hassle. Call 020 3966 4692 or get a free callback now.

British Gas Pay As You Go help: FAQs

  1. What do the error messages on my prepayment meter mean?

    For a full breakdown of the error messages that may pop up on your prepayment meter and how to fix them, please see our British Gas Top Up guide - the link for which is under the “British Gas Pay As You Go card” section of this article.

  2. I've run out of credit. How do I get British Gas emergency credit?

    If you have used up all of your credit, British Gas will provide you with £5 of Emergency Credit. See the previous section on British Gas emergency credit for details on how to activate it.

    If you run out of credit between 5pm and 9am (6pm and 10am in the summer) you will receive Friendly Emergency Credit, which will keep your supply running until 9 a.m. the next morning (or until 9 a.m. on Monday morning if you run out on a Saturday evening or a Sunday.

  3. How do I read my gas/electricity meter?

    To find out how to read your gas and/or electricity meters, check out our dedicated meter reading page. We take you through reading single and two rate meters, dial meters, as well as digital and imperial meters.

  4. How good is British Gas?

    If you would like to know our evaluation of British Gas, which includes an assessment of customer reviews, please see our British Gas Reviews page.

  5. What other services can I get with British Gas?

    When you sign up to British Gas on any tariff, you can take part in its rewards scheme through which you can get freebies and discounts, and register for exclusive prize draws.

    You can also purchase business energy, boiler cover, Homecare cover, apply for help with bills from the British Gas energy Trust, and apply for the Warm Home Discount.

Updated on