UK charity certifies unique home energy display for the blind


In the UK, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has certified the geo Accessible In-Home Energy Display, a product designed for consumers with accessibility needs.

Geo has its home energy display unit achieve RNIB’s Tried and Tested certification.

This means RNIB has seen the huge benefits that the display will provide to consumers with sight loss, loss of dexterity and colour blindness, whilst still providing a full range of functions.

 geo, RNIB and a number of energy suppliers conducted research to further develop the home energy display unit to ensure smart metering services are delivered to blind UK consumers.

Features of the home energy display unit includes:

  1. Vverbalising the information displayed both on the screens and navigation
  2. Six large tactile buttons and three separate LEDs which clearly indicate current electricity consumption
  3. High-contrast colour schemes and a large typeface to ensure consumers with colour blindness are able to see their energy usage data

The device is compliant with both first and second generation (SMETS1 and SMETS2) smart meter standards.

The geo Trio II Accessible In-Home Display will be available for customers with accessibility needs on request from selected energy suppliers from summer 2019 as part of the smart meter rollout.

Simon Hughes, Chief Commercial Officer at geo, said:“Energy suppliers are required to offer an in-home display that can be easily accessed and understood by a wide range of consumers, so our challenge was to ensure the geo Accessible In-Home Display would be suitable, not just for people with sight loss, but also for age-related difficulties such as hearing loss, loss of dexterity, small tremors and reduced strength.

“The RNIB Tried and Tested certification is testament to the success of the design, which will benefit many of the more than two million people in the UK living with sight loss.”

John Worsfold, Innovation and Technology Implementation Manager at RNIB, said: “As smart meters are rolled out and we’re all encouraged to be more aware of the energy we use, the new technology presents some barriers for customers with sight loss.

“The Accessible In-Home Display helps to break down these barriers, enabling blind and partially sighted customers and customers who find themselves in vulnerable situations to independently understand their energy usage and associated cost implications.

“We are delighted to award geo the RNIB Tried and Tested certification for the Accessible In-Home Display and look forward to all energy suppliers rolling out this innovation.”

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.