Recite Me call on all UK energy suppliers and comparison websites to ensure their websites are accessible for people with disabilities.
In 2018, Energy UK launched the Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances, to explore how the UK energy industry can meet the needs of customers in vulnerable circumstances, including people with disabilities.
The Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances Report 2019 suggests a mixed picture and states there is a need for urgent improvement across the sector, including by ensuring price comparison websites are accessible.
The report looks at the extent to which the energy sector is currently working for customers in vulnerable circumstances. It was compiled based on a combination of evidence hearings, analysis of over 40 responses to Energy UK’s ‘call for evidence’, consideration of published research, and meetings with experts in different aspects of this field,
The report recommends that customers in vulnerable circumstances must be provided with a range of communication channels so that they can engage with their supplier in a way that best meets their needs.
Recite Me is a web accessibility and language software that helps customers in vulnerable circumstances, such as those with sight loss or cognitive impairments like learning difficulties and dyslexia, to access any website.
Recite Me submitted a paper to the commission panel and took part in a workshop, while attending a hearing to support the report. Members of the Recite Me team, including Founder and CEO Ross Linnett, attended the launch event for the report at the Houses of Parliament.
Recite Me lets people with disabilities access any website in a way that suits them best through a unique combination of features, like a text-to-speech option, a zoom function, and the ability to change the text colour an background colour.
Recite Me is already used by energy suppliers including Western Power Distribution, Wales and West Utilities, Cadent Gas and Auriga Services to help make their websites accessible to as many customers as possible.
Recite Me Founder and CEO Ross Linnett said: “The technology of consumer engagement is changing and moving online more and more. As a result, vulnerable customers need to be supported online.
“This report highlights how some energy price comparison websites don’t follow the globally recognised World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, level AA, which is the legal requirement.
“Recite Me is now calling on all UK energy comparison websites and energy suppliers to ensure their websites are accessible for people with disabilities. Recite Me already supports millions of visitor’s across all industries to access websites by providing accessibility tools to customise a website the way they need it to work for them.
“We look forward to seeing more UK energy comparison websites and energy suppliers using web accessibility software such as Recite Me to ensure they are fully supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances.”
Mark Abrams, Chief Executive at Auriga Services Ltd said: “From a recommendation I received, I reviewed the Recite Me product. Just 15 minutes later I was convinced that it was a must for enabling accessibility on our website and on-line portals. We help people in financial need, and accessibility is essential – especially for those who don’t speak English as their first language.”