British Gas customers have been left furious after being unable to top up their gas and electricity meters shortly after Christmas Day following a technical glitch
British Gas customers were left unable to top up their gas and electricity meters following a technical glitch.
In some cases, frustrated households said payments had not gone through – despite money being taken from their bank account.
Customers say they were couldn’t top up online, over the phone or in person – and complained they were also unable to contact British Gas to fix the issue.
The issue affected British Gas’ Smart Pay As You Go service after Christmas.
Smart Pay As You Go allows households to top up balances online, through an app, or by using a Payzone outlet or at the Post Office.
One customer said: “Is there a problem with the pay as you go smart meters app?
“I tried topping up my electric online and it didn’t go through then tried by phone and that hasn’t worked either. Says was unable to complete transaction.”
Another said: “Checked my bank and they’ve taken £10 but no top up on my meter. I’m on the emergency credit and have tried all afternoon to get through to British Gas by phone, online chat and on here and it’s impossible.
A third added: “I am about to have no electricity or gas as I am not able to top up my smart meter, is there a way to get an eta on when this will be fixed?”
A fourth commented: “Have tried to top up smart meter at two Payzone garages, a Post Office, over the phone and online and non will work tried ringing British Gas but lines closed what can I do.”
Did you struggle to top up with British Gas after Christmas? Let us know: [email protected]
British Gas told This is Money that “friendly emergency credit” would have been applied to the accounts of customers who were struggling to top up.
Friendly emergency credit is activated automatically if you run out of credit between 6pm and 9am if there was at least £0.01 at 6pm.
The meter will not cut off until 9am the next morning, unless it is a Sunday or a Bank Holiday where friendly emergency credit will cover you for the full day.
A British Gas spokesman told The Mirror the issue was caused by an update to its system overrunning – and said it had now been fixed.
They added: “This was fixed on the same day so customers would have been able to top up later in the day and they would not have gone off supply as their emergency credit would have been activated.”
The technical glitch comes after households have been warned they face a £1,200 cost of living hit in April in what has been dubbed the “year of the squeeze”.
This is according to the Resolution Foundation think tank, who says the Omicron coronavirus strain “is unlikely to be the defining economic feature of next year as the wave is expected to be relatively short-lived”.
Instead, stalled real wages will mean pay is no higher next Christmas – with surging inflation currently at 5.1% and tipped to rocket even more.
The think tank warns that “inflation is set to peak at 6% in Spring 2022 (its highest level since 1992) and pay packets stagnating as a result”.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.