This article contains helpful information about your gas top up meter. Use the contents below to jump to a specific section, or take a read through to get a better understanding of all things prepay.

Getting started

Topping up

Reading your meter

Error messages


Emergency credit

Managing debt

Lost your card 

Moving home

Additional support

Gas leak

Getting started

Before you use your new card for the first time, there are a few things worth knowing:

  • To get started, plug the new card into your meter and wait 60 seconds. This will register your card and you're now ready to top up.
  • Plugging in your new card won’t wipe any credit you already have on the meter. 
  • Don’t throw away your old gas card. If you lose your new card and need to top up, you can use your old card until you get a replacement from us.

Top up at your nearest Paypoint or Payzone

Once you’ve set up your card, you’re ready to top up. Find your nearest Paypoint or Payzone.

  • Check that your gas appliances (for example, your oven) are off before putting your card into the meter. You might see a message on your meter that asks you to do this too. This helps keep everything safe.
  • After topping up your card, plug it into the meter and press the red 'A' button. This will transfer the credit from your card to your meter.
  • When you’ve finished topping up, take your card out of the meter. This will preserve the meter’s battery life.
  • If your screen is off, pressing the red ‘A’ button will wake it up and show how much credit you have left on your meter.
  • Even when you’re not using gas, you should keep your meter topped up to pay for your daily standing charge.

Press the 'A' button to read your meter

Pressing the red 'A' button will show screens with different information. While your card is in the meter, press 'A' to see the following screens:

'OWED' - How much debt is on the meter

Meter Index - Your current meter reading

If you’re not sure what some of the screens mean, we have a helpful article on how to read different kinds of prepay meters.

What the error messages mean

There’s a few reasons your meter might be showing an error message. In the table below we’ve explained what the most common errors mean. If you can’t see your error, check out our full list of prepayment meter errors.

Error message

What causes this?

What should I do?

“Call Help”

Your meter is faulty

Get in touch, we’ll send an engineer to get your meter working again 

“Card fail”, “Card pass”, or “Card not accepted”

The meter can’t read your card.

Wipe the card with a dry cloth and insert it back into the meter. If this doesn’t fix it, get in touch.

“Battery fail”, "B1" or "B3"

There’s an error with the meter’s battery. 

Get in touch. If the battery has failed we’ll organise an engineer to replace the battery as soon as possible.

If your meter shows "B1" or "B3" it'll last for a couple of weeks, we'll still exchange this for you.

“-----” or “M****”

Your meter has an issue that can’t be fixed over the phone.

Get in touch, we’ll send an engineer to fix your meter.

Top up payments cover your energy and your daily standing charge

A standing charge is a daily fee which covers costs like engineer visits, meter maintenance and the cost of keeping you connected to the network. You need to pay your standing charge even if you're away from home. This is why it’s important to keep your meter topped up, even when you’re not using gas.

The daily standing charge is 28.31p for a top up gas meter.

Use your emergency credit when you can't top up

If your meter is beeping, it’s running low on credit. If this happens and you’re unable to top up, you can use your emergency credit. 

Emergency credit on a gas meter is normally £10. If you use it, you’ll need to pay as a percentage of your next top ups.

With Bulb, you're always guaranteed 70% of your top up as credit.

For example, if you owe £6 of emergency credit and standing charge and top up £10, you’ll get £7 towards your energy, pay £3 of the owed amount, and still owe £3.

Read how to activate your emergency credit.

Managing your debt

Debt can be built up by a daily standing charge when a meter has no credit. This can happen when a property is empty for an extended period of time. A member may also be in debt if they’ve switched from a credit meter to a prepay meter to help manage payments.

You can read more about the different types of charges here.

If you've built up debt, get in touch so we can set up a weekly repayment plan. This means you’ll make weekly payments, through your top ups, until your balance is paid off.

We’ll take your first payment on the first Wednesday after you've set up your repayment plan. If you don’t have enough credit at the time, we’ll take it when you next top up.

Get help managing your debt

If you’re struggling to pay for your energy, there are ways to get help:

  • If you’d like to change your repayment amount, get in touch
  • StepChange is a charity that will help you create and manage a budget if you’re struggling to make payments. Call them on 0800 138 1111 or visit

Contact us if you’ve lost your card

Get in touch to request a new card. It will arrive within 3 to 5 working days. You can use your previous supplier’s card while you wait for a new one. If you don’t have one and need to top up, you can use your emergency credit.

Let us know when you’re moving home

Moving out

When leaving your property, you need to let us know so we can stop charging you for the energy at that property. Just let us know by email or over the phone. We'll ask a few questions and do the rest ourselves.

When you move out of a property you don’t have to do anything with your card, we recommend leaving it by the meter for the next person moving in.

Moving in

If you’ve just moved in to a property supplied by Bulb, head to our Moving in page to create an account.

Getting additional support 

We offer free support services if you, or someone you live with, needs help to manage your energy supply. For example because you have restricted mobility or a learning disability.

Some of the support services we offer include:

  • helping with meter readings
  • providing statements in an accessible format
  • quickly reconnecting your home’s energy supply if it goes out

You can apply for additional services by filling out our extra services form.

Make yourself safe if you have a gas leak

If you think you have a gas leak, the first thing you should do is make yourself safe. Turn off your gas, at the meter if possible, and then call the National Gas Service Emergency Line on 0800 111 999.

Get in touch if you need more help

You can send us an email at any time, or get in touch by phone or our live chat service Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

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