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What happens when my emergency electric runs out?

(77 Posts)
NewNameForPrivacy Fri 21-Aug-15 19:12:55

I have a pay as you go electricity meter with British Gas. Ran out of credit 2 days ago and popped the key in to give me £5 emergency credit. I thought this would be more than enough to last til payday on Monday.

Well, halfway through cooking dinner there the daft meter starts bleeping. 98p remaining. No idea if electricity costs more per Kwh if in emergency? I have had the washing machine and cooker on loads the past few days doing batch cooking etc.

I'm usually right on top of things like this. I have a budget spreadsheet accounting for every penny coming in and out each month. But this week I've had to use the electric money to get my daughter a new pair of school shoes from Asda. We bought a pair 2 weeks ago using a gift voucher from Clarks. But she came home on Tuesday with massive blisters. Then spent another £5 from my electric fund on the train to return the shoes to Clarks who said they couldn't exchange due to me not having proof of purchase! Argh. Anyway that's another story i suppose.

I've got plenty of food in and things. I have dinners tomorrow and Sunday that I'm going to need the (electric) cooker for. But asides from that, we won't be using much electric. My daughter has uniform washed and ready for Mon, i have a work outfit ready too so won't need the washing machine back on this weekend. I'll make sure we're out during the day so we won't use the lights, telly etc (please don't rain!) So it's really only the cooker and keeping the fridgefreezer running that ill need electricity for. Oh, and to charge my phone in the evening. And to switch the boiler on for hot water for a wash and to clean dishes. Ahhhh 98p wont last will it? i heard it costs more when you're in debt on the meter?

Not enough call allowance left to phone British Gas to see if they can do anything. Not sure they'd be able to do anything anyway. I've sent them an email just now though but doubt I'll hear anything til Monday. By which time ill have topped up anyway!

Not in a position to ask/borrow. Please don't mistake this thread as a begging thread. I would never accept anything offered by strangers over the web.

Have sold everything i had that was sellable over the summer to do days out and things over the summer with my daughter. Have her old (NEW fgs)clarks shoes on my local selling page just now but doubt they'll shift as my daughter has really really narrow feet and they're a funny width. Although the Asda non-specified width shoes i bought her a few days ago seem to be much more comfortable! Fuming at Clarks right now.

This has turned into a really muddled and panicked post! Does anybody know what happens when the meter hits 0? Really worried all my fridgefreezer stuff will get ruined if the electric cuts out before Mon. My daughter keeps asking to switch the big light on as the sun is going down. Keep having to say no because it's broken. What a shambles.

ginmakesitallok Fri 21-Aug-15 19:19:25

Your electric will go off I'm afraid.

WallyBantersJunkBox Fri 21-Aug-15 19:19:31

Oh you poor thing.

I'm trying to remember what happened on our meter - did it run into negative and then just take your top up money off that?

Sorry I can't be more helpful on that. But didn't want to leave unanswered.

If the power idea go, can you borrow a fiver from a neighbour possibly? Family member?

Keep the freezer door closed. Also fill up the places with scrunched up newspaper as it runs more efficiently than a freezer with empty spaces in the shelves and drawers.

Have you got a microwave to heat up food? Quicker than an oven. Make up a flask of boiled water rather than using the kettle every time?

BeautifulBatman Fri 21-Aug-15 19:19:43

I know you've said you won't accept anything but I'm happy to transfer £20 to your bank account if it helps.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 21-Aug-15 19:20:02

I presume everything will go off sad

Could you call BG and say you have a young child in the house - so I think you're classed as a vulnerable household. They maybe able to sub you something (am assuming they can programme the meter from their end - but not sure) and then you could pay it off

Hope that works flowers

WallyBantersJunkBox Fri 21-Aug-15 19:20:03

Sorry does, not idea.

WallyBantersJunkBox Fri 21-Aug-15 19:22:09

Do you have a local FB selling group you can sell the shoes on OP? Someone could come round and collect and drop off cash?

RepeatAdNauseum Fri 21-Aug-15 19:22:41

The British Gas website suggests that the meter will turn off. It says it'll reactivate when you add credit, and recommends adding £15 to pay the emergency credit back so you've got it for next time.

If there's no way you can borrow the money, I'd start preparing for it to turn off.

I know that electricity companies can't permanently cut off homes with children, but I can't find any laws relating to temporary cut offs. It could be worth phoning British gas and seeing if you can come to an arrangement? Do it tonight though, before it cuts off.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 21-Aug-15 19:22:46

Yes - good idea re: selling the shoes

RainbowRoses Fri 21-Aug-15 19:23:48

You will need to put £10 on to cover the use of the £5 emergency and the other £5 will pay off the loan they gave you and to use.
My guess is what you have will last until the morning, sorry sad

WallyBantersJunkBox Fri 21-Aug-15 19:25:05

Sorry I can see you've done that, my phone wasn't showing the bottom half of your post.

Wash the dishes in cold water op. It won't harm for a few days with a good squirt of washing up liquid.

The weather is nice this weekend in the UK I think?

SillyStuffBiting Fri 21-Aug-15 19:25:53

All meters are,different, even if my emergency runs out the power won't go off on a Sunday or after 6pm. It will go off after 9am. I just takes it off the next top up. It's not a dearer rate either.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 21-Aug-15 19:26:28

Sorry - just seen re: shoes too

I don't suppose you paid for them with a debit or credit card? If so, that's enough for ckark's to trace proof of purchase from

Snozberry Fri 21-Aug-15 19:28:09

Have you got absolutely nothing left to sell on facebook? Even if you sold a few very cheap things it might add up.

travertine Fri 21-Aug-15 19:30:05

I tried phoning for an extension with a different company once, think it's meter programmed unfortunately. I did similar to you. Go and turn absolutely everything you don't need off. Check all your sockets. Also I don't want to be the voice of doom but on emergency I don't think you can top up, you have to clear the five pounds. Didn't want you to possibly waste a few precious pounds trying to top up.

RepeatAdNauseum Fri 21-Aug-15 19:31:27

Some newer meters won't cut you off in the evenings or at the weekend, but I think this means that if you go into emergency credit at the weekend, it won't run out. I can't find any indication that it means your credit won't run out if you started using the emergency credit earlier.

I'd help someone if they told me this. I'd want to help.

DaddyPigIsMyParentingGuru Fri 21-Aug-15 19:34:53

I will also pay £5 in if you are ok to pm me your PayPal address.

winchester1 Fri 21-Aug-15 19:43:15

I've used fridge and kept freezer food over a 3 day power cut so you may be ok. Fill spaces with newspaper and once the power goes avoid opening them and dot put anything warm in them, cool in cold water first if possible.
Use a flask for hot water.
Turn off your hot water and heating of course.
Use the microwave and eat anything you can cold and raw - tinned pots, hot dogs and beans for example - like a posh picnic. We used wood in the BBQ to add to the fun and cooked sausages.

Hope its not too bad for you.

jazzandh Fri 21-Aug-15 19:45:30

I'd take the shoes back to clarks tomorrow and request a refund.

jazzandh Fri 21-Aug-15 19:48:29

...sorry missed that you'd tried that - worth an email to HO of Clarks complaining about treatment regarding the shoes.

jazzandh Fri 21-Aug-15 19:51:01

Hot weather in the SE tomorrow - warm your water outside and get disposable BBq for dinner with a few sausages and salad.

FuckOffHacker Fri 21-Aug-15 19:55:55

My next door neighbour has a meter and she said hers doesn't go off on a Sunday but it's the getting through to Sunday, Id also be happy to sent you £5 via paypal if you email me your address, you can pay it back (if you want to).

Aoifebell Fri 21-Aug-15 19:56:28

0800 048 0303 free British Gas number. It's free from my mobile I'm on t mobile/ee

My meter doesn't go off after 6pm but will at 10am if emergency runs out.

It's so shit I know how you feel thanks

NewNameForPrivacy Fri 21-Aug-15 19:56:29

Wow thank you for the replies. I really would never accept anything over the web. I hope that doesn't sound ungrateful or anything. Youre very kind to offer but i would never accept.

Okay, bracing myself for electrity to go off. How long do things in fridges and freezer stay fresh without electric? I can keep the freezers shut. I have a fridge freezer then a chest freezer under the stairs where i keep all my batch cooked stuff. Im sure i heard somewhere freezer things stay fresh for 48hrs if the door is left shut (that is likely just me being optimistic!) and electric goes off. But only 12 hrs in a fridge? We cant leave the fridge shut all weekend though as i think we'll be using bread and ham and cheese etc for dinner this weekend instead of cooking things. No way can i put the cooker on. Also we'll need into it for milk etc in the mornings then lunch stuff. Had a big fortnightly shop delivered on Mon. Really stressed out it will all go off now and get wasted. If i only use the electric for keeping the fridges and freezers running, should 98p do it?

I can just nip out around 7ish Monday morning to top up electric at the shop then bathe my daughter before school in the morning and get myself showered. Not sure how we'll stay fresh over the weekend though without switching the boiler on for hot water. More me than my daughter as she thankfully is years away from reaching the sweaty stage.

Sorry ive likely missed more replies as i attempt to type this up. Cannot type on my phone but had to turn pc off.

Yep weve sold everything over the summer through ebay but have the shoes up for sale on Facebook just now. Think my phone will cut out tho without getting charged so cant keep an eye on the post. Can spend a few hours in the library tomorrow tho. Ill take my usb with me and can plug my phone into one of their pcs? Think that will be allowed?

It's really only these next 2 days im worrying about. Come Monday we will be fine so dont want to se anything that ill likely need to buy back again in the future.

PausingFlatly Fri 21-Aug-15 19:58:06

In my experience the power just cuts off and the flatmate who was supposed to top up will disappear to his girlfriend in the next county with the charging key for the weekend.

That's not recent, things may have changed.

Bu sorry, OP, I'd assume the worst.

In your position, I'd prioritise the freezer/fridge to not waste your food. Leave the hot water off. If you're desperate for a bit of hot water, use the kettle.

Basically what the other posters said.

Oh, and this is where the much maligned flannel comes in (see thread currently raging!). Stripwash from a bowl of warmed water. This used to be the norm, so although a shock to get used to, you'll be just fine.

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