Using your smart meter’s in-home display
If you get smart meters installed, your energy supplier will offer you a device called an 'in-home display' (IHD). They might also call it a 'smart energy monitor'.
The IHD is a small portable device with a screen. It shows your energy usage and how much it's costing you. It is not the same as your smart meter. Your smart meter will be fixed in place, usually in a cupboard inside or outside your home.
You can put your IHD anywhere in your home. You’ll need to either plug it in or use batteries. It will connect to your smart meters without using wifi.
If you have a smart meter for both gas and electricity, your in-home display will connect to both of them - you don’t need 2 IHDs.
Using your in-home display with prepayment smart meters
If you have smart meters on prepayment setting, your in-home display will show you your current balance and let you access emergency credit. Check the user guide on how to do this. You can use some models of IHD to add credit to your smart meter.
Using your in-home display to help you save energy
Your IHD shows you how much energy you’re using in 2 ways:
how much energy you’re using in kilowatt hours (kWh)
how much your energy use is costing you
You can see readings for the current day, week, month or year. The readings update every 10 seconds for electricity and every 30 minutes for gas.
You can get an idea of your energy use by turning everything off except your essential appliances, for example your fridge-freezer. Check how much energy your IHD says you're using.
You can then use different appliances one by one to see how much your energy use and costs go up. This will help you work out which appliances are costing you the most.
Set a budget for your energy use
You can set a daily, weekly or monthly budget on your IHD. Your IHD will alert you if you go over the amount that you have chosen.
Use your IHD to tell you how much you are spending on energy at the moment. Set the budget at a lower amount. Then you can test which appliances you need to use less or put on energy saving settings to stay within budget.
Understanding the standing charge
If your in-home display is set to show the money you’ve spent, this includes the ‘standing charge’. The standing charge is a fixed daily fee set by your energy supplier - this pays for your connection to the gas and electricity networks. It isn't affected by the amount of energy you use.
The daily standing charge is added at the start of each day - usually after midnight. You can learn more about standing charges and energy tariffs.
Save energy using your electrical appliances
You can save energy if you change the settings on your appliances or find ways to use expensive appliances less.
Get instructions for your in-home display
We can help you find the digital user guide for your IHD - even if you don't know what model it is. Find the user guide for your in-home display.
If your in-home display has stopped working
If your energy supplier gave you the IHD in the last year, they have to fix or replace it. If they gave it to you over a year ago, it's still worth contacting them to ask if they'll fix or replace it.
In some cases you might be able to fix your own IHD. Check if you can fix your in-home display.
Get an in-home display
If you want to get an in-home display, the steps you need to take depend on whether you have a smart meter in smart mode. If you’re not sure, check to see if you have a smart meter running in smart mode.
If you have a smart meter
Ask your supplier if they'll give you an IHD.
Tell your supplier if you have a disability and need an accessible IHD - they should give you one.
If you can’t get one from your supplier there are some free apps and in-home displays you can buy that give you similar information. Search for “smart meter apps” in your app store.
If you don’t have a smart meter
Your supplier might be able to install a smart meter at your home and provide you with an in-home display. Contact your supplier to ask if they’ll install a smart meter for you. Find out more about getting a smart meter.
Alternatively, you might be able to buy an energy monitor that works with an old-style meter and gives you similar information.
If you have a disability or find it hard to use an in-home display
You might be better off with an accessible IHD. Your supplier should give you an accessible IHD if you ask.
If you’re getting a smart meter installed, let the supplier know that you need an accessible IHD. They should make sure that they give you the right one.
If checking your in-home display makes you anxious
There are things you can do that might help you feel less anxious. You can:
check if you can set your display to only show your energy use - not how much it costs you
move your display somewhere else - for example, a cupboard or a room you don't use much
set a weekly or monthly budget you’ll be able to follow - don’t set a budget that’s too hard
decide when you’ll check it - for example, Wednesday and Saturday mornings
get someone else to check the display for you
download your supplier’s phone app and use it instead of the display
Remember that the standing charge is added at the start of each day. It isn't affected by the amount of energy you use.
Don't be hard on yourself if you go over your budget. It might be the standing charge added each day that means the display shows you’ve spent more than you might have expected. Don’t stop heating your home. It’s important to keep your home warm enough so there’s less risk of it becoming damp.
If you’re still feeling anxious
If you’ve tried doing things to help you feel less anxious but you’re still struggling, you can either:
not set a budget
switch off the display
Your smart reader will still tell your supplier how much energy you've used even when your display is switched off.
If you have smart meters in prepayment mode, don't switch off your in-home display. You need to be able to check how much credit you have left - and you might need to access emergency credit.
Check how to improve your mental wellbeing
If you’re anxious and need to speak to someone
You can speak to a trained volunteer at organisations like Samaritans or Shout.
Helpline: 116 123 (Monday to Sunday at any time)
Welsh Language Line: 0808 164 0123 (Monday to Sunday 7pm to 11pm)
Calls to Samaritans are free.
You can also text 'SHOUT' to 85258 to start a conversation with a trained Shout volunteer. Texts are free, anonymous and confidential from anywhere in the UK.