EmergenciesEnergy advice

What to do in an emergency

In this article we'll cover contact information and advice for:

Smell gas or think you have a gas leak?

Call the 24-hour National Gas Emergency service on 0800 111 999

  • Do open doors and windows to let the gas out

  • Do check your gas appliances are switched off

  • Do turn your gas off at the isolation switch (if you know where it is)

  • Do wait outside your home, and let your neighbours know#

  • Don't use any electrical switches, and don't switch lights on or off

  • Don't smoke, light a match, or use any other kind of naked flame

  • Don't go back into your home until you've got the all-clear

Signs of a gas leak

  • Strong smell of gas in your home

  • The pilot light on your boiler frequently blows out

  • Pilot light or gas rings on your cooker are orange or yellow, rather than crisp blue

  • Soot or scorched areas on the exterior of appliances

  • More condensation than usual on windows

Electrical power cut

If it’s area-wide, call 105 to report the power cut to your network distributor

Before you call, check if there’s a power cut in your area by looking at the streetlights outside, or your neighbours’ home. 

You should also:

  • Switch off all your electric appliances – especially the ones that shouldn’t be left unattended like heaters. This will also protect your appliances from electrical surges.

  • Leave one light switch turned “on” to show when the power comes back.

If only your home has lost power 

Check your fuse box to see if a switch has been tripped. If not:

  1. Switch everything off at the plug.

  2. Leave one light switch turned on so you can see if the power comes back on.

  3. Turn off the main switch in the fuse box. 

  4. Follow up by turning off all the individual switches, one by one. 

  5. Turn the main switch back on. 

  6. Flip each of the smaller switches back on, again one by one. If any of the switches flips itself back “off”, it has “tripped”. That means that there’s a fault. 

You can tell where the fault is by seeing which switch flips. You could have a faulty appliance plugged in. Try unplugging the appliance, and going back to step one to try again.

Don’t attempt to do any electrical work yourself. If there seems to be a fault but you don’t know what it is, it’s time to call an electrician.

Electric shock

If the casualty is unconscious, call 999 and ask for an ambulance

Think about your own safety first - if the casualty is still in contact with the source of the shock, you might end up being shocked yourself. 

If safe to do so:

  1. Turn off the electricity. Or break the connection between the casualty and the object using a non-conducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood.

  2. If the casualty is conscious, keep checking on them for several hours after the shock. If they suffer any issues take them to A&E immediately.

  3. If the casualty is unconscious and breathing normally, then after calling 999, put them in the recovery position. If they show no sign of circulation and you feel comfortable to do so, you could start CPR.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

If you’re worried a gas appliance is leaking carbon monoxide, call the 24-hour National Gas Emergency service on 0800 111 999 

You should also:

  1. Stop using all gas appliances.

  2. Open all doors and windows to get fresh air inside. 

  3. Get outside as soon as possible. Stay calm and try not to raise your heart rate. 

  4. Seek immediate medical help, as you may not know how badly you’ve been affected. Just being in fresh air alone isn’t enough. 

DO NOT go back into your home.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly toxic gas. It’s known as the “silent killer” because it can’t be seen, smelt or tasted.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

CO poisoning can be easily mistaken for something else like flu, food poisoning etc. But if the symptoms disappear when you leave the property, and other members of your household (including pets) feel unwell at the same time, it could be carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Here’s what to look out for:

  • A tension-type headache

  • Dizziness

  • Feeling and being sick

  • Tiredness and confusion

  • Stomach pain

  • Shortness of breath 

  • Difficulty breathing

Signs of carbon monoxide in your home

  • An orange or yellow flame on your gas hob, instead of the usual blue

  • Dark, sooty stains around gas appliances

  • More condensation than normal inside your windows

  • The pilot light on your boiler frequently blows out

One of the best things you can do is get a carbon monoxide detector fitted. They sound an audible alarm when carbon monoxide is detected.

Pay As You Go emergencies

Have a long-term health condition or disability?

If you or someone you live with could be at risk if you lose power, a Pay As You Go meter is probably not right for you. Please let us know about this when you first sign up and we'll help you choose another option.

If you're off supply

As long as you had credit at the start, even emergency credit, you won’t lose power:

  • During the night – between 6pm and 9am, Monday to Saturday

  • Saturday from 4pm through until Monday morning at 9am

  • All day Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, and Easter Sunday

If your supply stops, first check that your meter is topped up, as that might be the issue. If you’ve run out of credit, you’ll need to add more. In an emergency, you can activate the emergency credit. 

How to activate emergency credit

  1. Put your card or key into the meter.

  2. You might need to remove the card or key and reinsert it again. 

  3. For your gas meter, once you’ve put your card in, press the red A button to move through the menu. When you reach a screen saying Accept Emcr?, press B – you’ll then see EmCr Accepted.

Smart meter 

Your IHD will prompt you to activate your emergency credit when your balance falls below £2. If you miss your emergency credit prompt, you’ll still be able to activate it when your balance is below £2.

Traditional meter

You’ll be able to activate your emergency credit when your balance drops below £1 on your electricity meter and £2 on your gas meter.

Just so you know - if you don’t top-up within a set time, your meter will disconnect. If this happens, follow these instructions to reconnect your meter.

If you've lost your key or card

If you’ve lost your key or card, there are different options depending on your meter type. 

Find out what to do:

If you have any other Pay As You Go meter emergency

If there’s an emergency with your meter, you can chat with us online. Or call us on 0330 175 9669.

Extra help with the Priority Services Register

You can sign up to our Priority Services Register (PSR) if you or anyone in your household needs practical support when it comes to your energy. This could be because of a medical reason, you’re pregnant, you have children under 5, you’re over 65, or you don’t read or speak English with confidence.

If you’re eligible, you can get extra help with things like free gas safety checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer, or notice of planned power cuts.

Ask the OVO Forum

Can’t find an answer? Try asking our helpful OVO community.

Visit the OVO Forum


Still need help?

If you have a gas leak, power cut , or Pay As You Go emergency, get emergency help.