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Smart Meter Safety Information

Understanding Smart Meters and Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) Risk 

What are Smart Meters?

Smart Meters measure attributes of electricity, natural gas or water as delivered to consumers and transmit that usage information digitally back to utility companies. Some Smart Meters are also designed to transmit real-time information to the consumer.

How do Smart Meters work?

Smart Meters communicate to their central systems using radio frequency (RF) transmission communication method. Internet and cell phone applications have become the preferred options because of their flexibility and ease of deployment.

Are Smart Meters within FCC standards?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standard provides a currently accepted factor of safety against known thermally induced health impacts of Smart Meters and other electronic devices in the same range of RF emissions. Exposure levels from smart meters are well below the thresholds for such effects. There is no evidence that additional standards are needed to protect the public from Smart Meters.  The graphic below shows how Smart Meters compare to other common devices and appliances.

Device Related Power Density in microwatts per square centimeter (μW/cm2)

FM radio or TV broadcast station signal0.005
SmartMeter ™ device at 10 feet0.1
Cyber cafe (Wi-Fi)10-20
Laptop computer10-20
Cell phone held up to head30-10,000
Walkie-Talkie at head500-42,000
Microwave oven, two inches from door5,000

Source: Richard Tell Associations, Inc. (3)

Any known health effects?

Scientific studies have not identified or confirmed negative health effects from potential non-thermal impacts of RF emissions such as those produced by existing common household electronic devices and Smart Meters.

Are people exposed?

Smart Meters are typically installed outside of the home, either in place of or as part of existing meters. How much RF energy that people are exposed to from the Smart Meter depends on how far they are from the Smart Meter antenna and how the Smart Meter sends its signal. The frequency and power of the RF waves given off by Smart Meters are similar to that of a typical cell phone, cordless phone or residential Wi-Fi router. Smart Meters typically send and receive short messages about 1% of the time. 

Can the Sensus Water Smart Meter cause fire?

The batteries are sealed with the High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) enclosure of the smart point. These are typically installed in meter boxes which are typically under a metal or concrete lid. To date, there has been no report of a Sensus Water Smart Meter catching fire.

What are the benefits of a Smart Meter?

Smart Meters allow access to hourly weekly and monthly water usage as well as other added features such as leak detection and usage notifications. New meters also allow EMWD to read your water meter safely, accurately and in the most efficient manner possible.