Repaying debt on your gas top up (prepay) meter

The information on this page is for traditional top up (prepay) meters. If you’re on our Smart Pay As You Go plan, find out about paying back debt on your smart top up meter.

If you have outstanding debt, you'll repay it automatically when you top up your meter.

Each time you top up:

  • up to 30% of the top up will go towards repaying the debt
  • 70% of the top up will always be left for energy use and the daily standing charge

So if your last top up didn’t last as long as you expected, or there was less money on the meter than you’d added, check to see if some of the money was taken automatically to repay debt.

Your meter can show how much of your last top up was used to repay debt

Take your card out of the meter, go to your credit balance screen, and press and hold the A button (usually red) until you hear a beep. You may have to wake up your meter’s screen first by pressing the A button once. Press the A button again to move through the screens to see:

  • 00 - the most recent top up added to the meter
  • 01 - the last amount taken to repay debt
  • 02 - the last amount taken to repay emergency credit
  • 03 - the credit available for gas use


How debt builds up on your meter

Your meter can have 2 different kinds of debt:

  • emergency credit and standing charge debt - this is shown on your meter as ‘OWED’
  • ‘gas debt’ transferred from a previous supplier or Bulb account, or from credit that’s been loaned to you (known as discretionary credit) - this is shown on your meter as ‘GD Remaining’

Emergency credit and standing charge debt

Your top up meter allows you to borrow up to £10 in case of emergencies. It makes sure your home has gas until you’re able to top up. Find out how to activate emergency credit.

While you’re using emergency credit, Bulb will:

  • use the emergency credit to pay for the gas you’re using
  • stop taking payments for your daily standing charge – these payments will build up as debt on the meter

The next time you top up after using emergency credit, part of your top up will be taken automatically to start repaying the debt from the standing charge and your emergency credit. 

You need to repay your emergency credit in full before you can use it again. Your meter will show the amount left to repay - this will be labelled as ‘OWED’.

'Gas debt' from a previous supplier, Bulb account or credit loan

This includes:

  • debt that’s been transferred to your Bulb account from a previous supplier 
  • debt from a pay-monthly Bulb account
  • debt from credit that’s been loaned to you if you’ve run out of gas but can’t afford to top up (known as ‘discretionary credit’)

Gas debt doesn’t include standing charge debt. 

To see if there’s any gas debt on your meter:

  1. Take the card out.
  2. Press and hold A until you hear a beep.
  3. Keep pressing the ‘A’ button until you reach screen 27.

This screen shows the amount of gas debt to repay. It will reduce each week if you’re topping up. If you see ‘£0’, there’s no gas debt on the meter.

You need to keep your meter topped up even if you’re not using gas

This is because you’ll still need to pay the daily standing charge

You can still build up standing charge debt even when you’re not using gas. 

Each time you top up your meter, 30% of the top up will go towards repaying your debt until it’s repaid in full.

Get in touch if you’re struggling to repay debt

We can help set up a payment plan, or recommend other organisations you can talk to.

If you'd like to set up a payment plan, get in touch and we can talk through the best options for you.

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