Smart meter with accessible in-home display

Blind and partially sighted people can now request a free Accessible In-Home Display (AIHD) from their energy supplier.

With energy prices increasing, it has never been more important to be able to keep track of how much your household is spending on gas and electricity.

Smart meter displays allow users to see near real-time information on how much energy is being used and find ways to reduce their energy consumption. Until now, energy suppliers have failed to take the needs of their blind and partially sighted customers into account when designing these displays.

The energy industry has recognised this failing. Working with RNIB, Energy UK (the trade association for the UK energy industry) and geo (a leading energy technology business) have developed an Accessible In-Home Display (AIHD) so everyone can access smart meter energy usage in their home.  

The AIHD features a high contrast display, text-to-speech, and buttons with tactile feedback.

How to claim your free AIHD

AIHDs can be requested by anyone who needs one from their energy supplier.

If you or a family member have sight loss or other accessibility needs, contact your energy supplier to discuss the available options. Your supplier will be able to provide further information on smart meters, including the Accessible In-Home Display (AIHD). Alternatively, speak to your supplier about accessibility options when they contact you about installing a smart meter.

You can find out more about smart meters by visiting Smart Energy GB. You can also find out more information about Accessible In-Home Displays on its website.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters replace your existing gas and electricity meters. They allow you to see how much energy is being used and where so you can take steps to reduce your consumption. They also tell your energy company how much gas and electricity you're using so you don't need to provide meter readings.

They're often described as the next generation of meters because they work in more intuitive way. It's a bit like the difference between an ordinary phone and a smartphone.

The government has asked energy companies to give smart meters to every home they provide energy to.

What are the benefits of a smart meter?

Having a smart meter in your home means you will:

  • no longer need to let meter readers into your house or provide a meter reading to your supplier,
  • receive bills based on actual rather than estimated meter readings.

How do accessible in-house displays differ from the standard displays?

An Accessible In-Home Display (AIHD) has additional accessibility features such as:

  • text-to-speech function for screen navigation,
  • adjustable volume for the text-to-speech function,
  • six large, printed buttons with tactile feedback that confirms a button has been pressed,
  • three coloured LED lights for indicating electricity usage,
  • LED push buttons to replay speech,
  • Large crisp typeface,
  • display screen with high contrast colour, optimised for sight loss and colour blindness.

How much does an accessible in-house display cost?

There is no cost to customers to have a smart meter or AIHD installed.

RNIB Tried and Tested

RNIB has accredited the manufacturer geo with RNIB Tried and Tested, certifying that the Accessible In-Home Display (AIHD) meets the minimum accessibility requirements for blind and partially sighted people.

We are delighted that this initiative has resulted in suppliers being able to support blind and partially sighted customers to experience the benefits that smart meters can offer.

John Worsfold, RNIB’s Strategic Innovation Implementation manager

Your feedback

Have you contacted your supplier about getting an Accessible In-Home Display (AIHD)? Whether your experience was positive or negative, please tell us about it by contacting our Helpline on 0303 123 9999.

Your feedback will enable us to better monitor and support the rollout of the displays and help suppliers improve their services for people with sight loss.