Over 9 in 10 blind and partially sighted adults in Britain struggle to reduce their energy bills

A poll of 1,000 adults in the UK who are blind or have other sight issues also found 44 per cent say their condition that requires additional energy use - and are worried about how they will afford the extra cost.

As a result, 48 per cent feel they have been left behind during the cost-of-living crisis, and two thirds (67 per cent) think more should be done to provide support for their community.

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To help those living with sight loss, an accessible in-home display (AIHD) which connects to a home’s smart meter has been developed with support from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

This differs from the standard in-home display as it has additional accessibility features such as tactile buttons and text-to-speech functionality.

Phillippa Brown from Smart Energy GB, which commissioned the research, said: “This winter is going to be a difficult time for many people when it comes to affording energy bills, but knowing how much energy you are using can help you find ways to reduce your spend.

“For blind or partially sighted people, smart meters with accessible in-home displays have been specially designed with extra features to give you an easy way to monitor and manage energy use.”

While 72 per cent of those surveyed said they had a smart meter, only four in 10 (40 per cent) of these had an AIHD.

Additionally, 65 per cent had to ask someone to help them read their electricity or gas meter, in many cases because of where it is located.

But three quarters (76 per cent) said they had felt nervous or worried about letting someone into their home to take a meter reading.

Necessities make finding ways to reduce energy difficult 

Devices and technology that blind and partially sighted people say have had the most impact on their lives are mobile phone accessibility features (45 per cent), smart speakers and voice assistants (39 per cent).

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As well as integrated smart home appliances like lights and heating controls (30 per cent).

Technological advancements have been valuable for this community, with 61 per cent of adults living with sight loss saying they are more independent and the same amount feeling more confident as a result of accessible technology.

But there are areas that still need better technology or services to help bring their experience more in line with wider society - including management of household energy use and spending (37 per cent), public transport (37 per cent) and banking (35 per cent).

David Clarke, chief operating officer at RNIB, said: “RNIB is pleased to be working with Smart Energy GB to highlight some of the challenges people with sight loss face when trying to manage energy bills.

“With cost of living at the forefront of people’s minds, it’s crucial blind and partially sighted people have access to the same energy information as everyone else.

“As this survey shows, blind and partially sighted people continue to experience a disadvantage, especially when it comes to increasing costs born out of necessity and not choice, which makes it more difficult to proactively find ways to reduce bills.”

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