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Smart meters: About the in-home display

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They are being offered to the people of Great Britain at no extra cost. Your smart meter installations should come with an in-home display. This page will let you know everything you need to know about this handy little gadget and how to use it.

What is an in-home display?

The in-home display goes by many names. Some call it an IHD, while others prefer 'smart meter monitor', or 'smart meter display'. Either way, the in-home display is separate from your smart meter.

The smart meter is attached to your gas pipes or main electricity supply. One of its features is that it measures your energy usage and sends that information wirelessly to your in-home display. The in-home display is a small, portable monitor that communicates with your smart meter and shows your energy usage in near-real time.

This information can help you understand how much energy you’re using right there and then, instead of unknowingly using up a lot of energy and only finding out what you've used once you're billed. You can see how much energy you're using and, if needed, take steps towards reducing your energy consumption before a higher-than-expected energy bill comes in.

Watch Einstein explain the difference between an IHD (or smart meter display) and a smart meter:

What will your in-home display show you?

In-home displays in credit mode

If you have a smart meter in credit mode, it could display the following depending on the in-home display type provided by your energy supplier:

  • The time
  • Battery charge status
  • Signal strength
  • Your electricity and/or gas consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh), and pounds and pence
  • Your daily, weekly or monthly electricity and/or gas consumption
  • Your historic energy consumption up to a rolling 13 month cycle
  • Energy usage light indicators, which could include usage being visualised as low (green), medium (amber), or high (red), but will depend on the type of in-home display you have
  • Your tariff prices

In-home displays in prepay mode

If you’re a prepay customer, your in-home display could also display the following depending on the IHD type provided by your energy supplier:

  • Your smart meter credit balance
  • Low credit alert
  • Emergency credit balance if this is activated
  • Any debt

Is your smart meter in prepay or credit mode?

Your in-home display will tell you whether your smart meter is in prepay mode or credit mode by how it displays your information. If you’re still not sure if your smart meter is in prepay or credit mode, you can always contact your energy supplier and ask them.

Prepay Non Branded IHD
In-home display in prepay mode
IHD Credit Oct 2022
In-home display in credit mode

How to use your in home-display to take a meter reading

Your current meter readings can be shown on your in-home display. However, how to view your meter readings depends on which type of IHD you have.

Your in-home display may be different to your neighbours'. This all depends on your energy supplier. Different in-home displays have different ways of getting to your meter reading. But they all show the same basic information. Your electricity reading is shown in kilowatt hours (kWh) and your gas reading is shown in cubic meters (m3).

If you can't figure out how to work your in-home display, we've made some instructional videos on using your smart meter IHD with Citizens Advice to help you along.

Using a smart meter in-home display - instructional videos

How can the in-home display help you reduce your energy use?

Your in-home display shows you how much energy you’ve used and how much you are currently using. You can use this to help you make more informed decisions about your energy use in your home.

This energy usage data lets you:

  1. See exactly how much energy you use in pounds and pence

    You check your near-real time data for your electricity and/or gas usage in pounds and pence, and kilowatt hours (kWh). You can view your gas and electricity usage separately, or combined in kWh.

  2. See at a glance, whether your electricity use is high, medium or low, and how much it’s costing

    In-home displays vary depending on your energy supplier. But your energy usage data could be shown as a traffic light, figures, or in another easy-to-read way.

  3. View your energy usage by the day, per week or per month.

    All in-home displays allow you to see what you've spent over time, so you can track when spending is higher than usual.

    It can also show historic consumption daily, weekly, monthly, or on a 13-month rolling cycle.

How can the in home-display help prepay customers reduce their energy usage?

If you’re on prepay and have a smart meter, your in-home display will provide information to help you understand your energy usage. This could help you make small changes to reduce your energy costs.

  1. You can view your energy consumption and remaining credit

    When your smart meter is in prepay mode, your IHD can tell you your balance in pounds and pence, so you can see your energy consumption at a glance.

    On top of that, IHDs linked to smart meters in prepay mode can also show you your near real-time energy consumption in pounds and pence, just like when your smart meter is in credit mode.

    You can use this information to work out which appliances, such as your kettle, are using the most energy. And if you can, adjust accordingly.

  2. You can see when your credit is low

    It's easier to keep on top of your credit with a smart meter. This is because your in-home display shows you how much credit you have left. So no more having to get into awkward positions or go outside to see how much credit you've got left.

    This gives you more visibility over your credit, and can help you plan.

Looking for ways to help you save energy?

Our energy-saving tips hub is packed with easy-to-follow tips which could help you save on your energy bills.

FAQs

Do I leave my in-home display behind when I move house?

Yes. Your in-home display will only work with the smart meter it is securely paired with. If you're moving home, please leave your in-home display at your property so the new householder can benefit from using it.

My in-home display is faulty. What can I do?

Contact your energy supplier. If you've had the in-home display for less than 12 months, and the display has broken or is no longer working as it should be, your supplier should replace it free of charge. If there is evidence that the damage has been caused by you your supplier may consider applying a charge.

I've just moved in and there's a smart meter, but no separate in-home display. What do I do?

You'll need to get in touch with your supplier as they are best placed to let you know more about the options available to you for getting a replacement in-home display. This wouldn’t involve replacing the meters, only the in-home display that would then be paired with the existing smart meter.

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