I think I’m paying off a debt on my meter – what’s happened?

There are several possible reasons why there might be debt on your meter. Read on to see whether any of them apply to you.

First, check to see whether there really is debt loaded onto your meter. 

On your electricity meter, put in your key and press the blue button several times until you see screen ‘S’. This will tell you how much debt is left on the meter, if any.  Press the blue button again to see screen 'T', which will tell you the repayment rate – so it would say '5.00' if you’re paying back £5 a week. 

For gas you’ll need to insert your card into the meter. Then take it out and press and hold the red display button until it beeps. Then press the red button several times until you come to screen 27, which will tell you how much debt is left, if any. Screens 25 and 26 will tell you the minimum and maximum repayment rate. 

Just to clarify, screen 27 isn’t actually the 27th screen – there are a few numbers missing – so you only need to press the red button a few times, and keep watching the screen numbers.

Reasons why there might be debt on your meter

  1. You’ve recently moved into a new property and the debt was already on the meter when you moved in. 
    The debt could have been loaded onto the previous resident’s meter by us or another supplier because that resident owed money, or it could be because the property was empty for a while before you moved in. If so, standing charges may have been building up as a debt on the meter. Give us a call so we can go through the meter screens with you to find out what kind of debt it is. That will tell us exactly how to wipe it off, so we can refund you for anything you’ve already paid towards it. If the debt on the meter is over £50, we’ll need you to send us your signed mortgage agreement or signed tenancy agreement before we can wipe off the debt.

    Please scan it and email it to us at It’s also really helpful if you can send us photos of the debt screens on your meter so we can see how much debt is loaded and issue you with a refund as quickly as possible. Please make sure they show the reading clearly, and email them to When you’re emailing us, please remember to include your address and OVO account number in your email.
  2. The amount you’ve been topping up isn’t enough to cover both your energy use and your daily standing charge. 
    You may not have realised that we take a daily standing charge from the credit in your meter. If so, you might not have considered this when deciding how much to top up. If you’re not sure how much your standing charge is, please check your welcome letter if you signed up with OVO yourself. You can also see the amount of your standing charge on the screens on your meter – just scroll through the screens until you get to screen F or 4 on your electricity meter or screen 17 on your gas meter. We suggest you keep an eye on how much you spend each week (especially when the weather gets colder) so you know how much to top up without going into your emergency credit.
  3. You’ve been using your emergency credit and your standing charges have built up. 
    When you’re using your emergency credit, the meter doesn’t take your daily standing charge, so it builds up as debt until you next top up and are back in credit. Find out more about emergency credit and how your top-ups are used here. 
  4. You had an emergency meter exchange. 
    If you had an emergency meter exchange, the engineer who carried it out would have added £10 credit to your gas meter and £25 credit to your electricity meter to make sure you didn’t go off supply while you were waiting for a new key or card. You then need to pay this credit back, so we’ll take it from your meter at a rate of 100% per top-up* for electric, and 70% per top-up* for gas.
  5. You missed an appointment and we’ve added a charge to your meter. 
    If you miss an appointment you’ve arranged with us, we have to charge you. For example, if you miss a smart meter exchange you have to pay a £30 cancellation charge. We’ll have made this clear to you when you set up your appointment. Unless you told us you wanted to pay the charge as a lump sum, or at a different rate, we’ll have added this charge to your meters (split equally between gas and electricity) to be repaid at a rate of £7 a week for electricity, and 20% per top-up for gas.
  6. You’ve run up a debt with your previous energy supplier, and they installed prepayment meters to help you repay the debt. 
    If so, please give us a call to tell us how much you owe (it would also really help us if you could send us photos of the meter screens). You don’t owe this money to OVO, so we’ll need to wipe the debt off your meter, to stop it making extra debt repayments whenever you top up. You’ll also need to get in touch with your previous supplier to arrange to pay off the debt to them.

Did you know? You are responsible for the meter from the day you move into the property. If you move in but don’t top up for the first time until two weeks later, you’ll still be building up standing charges as you’re responsible for the property. When you do top up, some or all of the credit will be used to pay off these charges.

*The £25 credit added to your electricity meter by the engineer will need to be repaid before any of your top-up money can go towards credit. So if you top up with £20, 100% of that £20 will be used to repay the credit.  You'll need to top up again by at least £7 (to repay the rest of the credit, plus any standing charge debt you’ve built up) to get some new credit on your meter. 

On your gas meter, only 70% of your top-up will go towards repaying the £10 credit (and other debt), so 30% will still appear as a credit on your meter. So if you make a £5 top-up it will pay off £3.50 of the £10 credit, and you'll get £1.50 of new credit.

Like most websites OVO Energy uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this site. Accept and Close