Smart Meters

Jackson EMC’s Smart Meters and our Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) allow us to monitor your home’s energy use remotely.

How does the Smart Meter program work?

Your Smart Meter will send data remotely through a secure and protected signal to Tower Gateway Basestations (TGBs) on radio towers. Most of the meters talk directly to the TGBs, and meters that have difficulty talking to the TGBs will talk to a “buddy” meter and the “buddy” will forward the message to the TGB. The TGBs then send the data to Jackson EMC’s computer system.

Will someone be able to get my private information during the remote data transfer?

Your data and personal information are safe. Only your meter number and energy usage data are communicated over the radio towers.

RF and Smart Meters

We understand you may have concerns about your Smart Meter in terms of interference with other electronic devices and potential health risks. When we decided to pursue an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program, namely smart meter technology, we relied on research and other utilities’ experience with these devices. We selected the Sensus® FlexNet Smart Meter because of its reliability and quality.

What is radio frequency or “RF”?

Electric and magnetic energy moving at light speed form electromagnetic radiation. Both radio waves and microwaves emitted through transmitting antennae are one form of electromagnetic energy. Together, they are referred to as radiofrequency or “RF” energy or radiation. Other terms used to imply the presence of electromagnetic or RF energy are electromagnetic field or radiofrequency field. All forms of electromagnetic energy are referred to as the electromagnetic spectrum.

An RF signal frequency is usually specified in a unit called “hertz” (abbreviated as Hz). One Hz equals one cycle per second. One megahertz (MHz) equals one million cycles per second.

How is RF exposure measured?

Exposure is measured based on a device’s power and distance. For instance, your smart meter is located outside the home, exposing you to one one-thousandth of the exposure to RF in using your cellphone.

How is radiofrequency used?

You’ll find many products that are part of everyday life use RF energy. Telecommunications services such as cellphones, wireless laptops, cordless phones, radio communications for emergency services, radio and television broadcasting, garage door openers, baby monitors, amateur radio and microwave ovens are just a few of the many uses of RF energy.

How does the Smart Meter use RF?

Your Smart Meter sends data remotely through a secure and protected signal to radio towers. That data is then transmitted to Jackson EMC’s computer system. Only your meter number and energy usage data are communicated. Your personal information is safe.

What controls the frequency that Jackson EMC’s Smart Meters operate within?

Jackson EMC’s Smart Meters operate within a Federal Communications Commission licensed frequency to communicate your electricity usage.

How often do Smart Meters transmit data?

Your Smart Meter is set to transmit data six times a day, with each RF-signal lasting an average of 2 to 20 milliseconds.

Can Smart Meters RF signals interfere with wireless devices or other electronics?

No. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates electronic emission to prevent one electronic device from interfering with other wireless devices or electronics that operate within the same frequency band. Jackson EMC and our Smart Meter vendor are in complete compliance with FCC rules and regulations.

Smart Meter Impact on Health

Is there a health risk related to Smart Meters?

No. Your Smart Meter transmitter power output is low (1 watt), and its signal level decreases significantly with distance, making the overall RF field levels in a neighborhood of Smart Meters very low as well.

Please take a look at the California Council of Science and Technology (CCST) study recently completed on remote metering. As you review this study, please keep in mind it assumes the meter is transmitting 100 percent of the time, where our meter is transmitting much less – normally about one minute per day. You can get the full report by visiting the CCST website at http://ccst.us/.

Who regulates RF exposure standards?

The FCC has adopted and used recognized safety guidelines for evaluating RF environmental exposure since 1985. Federal health and safety agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have also been actively involved in monitoring and investigating issues for RF exposure. In 1996, the FCC adopted the NCRP’s recommended Maximum Permissible Exposure limits for field strength and power density for the transmitters operating at frequencies of 300 kHz to 100 GHz. The FCC also adopted the specific absorption rate (SAR) limits for devices operating within close proximity to the body as specified within the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) guidelines.

A Few Facts:

Smart Meters use low level (1 watt) radiofrequency (RF) energy to transmit your electric usage data.

RF is another name for radio waves, and a form of electromagnetic energy where waves of electric and magnetic waves move together at the speed of light through space. These waves are found in the electromagnetic field.

Everyday devices that use RF energy include:

  • Cell phones
  • Cordless phones
  • Pagers
  • Television and radio stations
  • Police and fire-department radios
  • Microwave ovens
  • Wireless routers
  • Laptop computers
  • Pacemakers

Smart Meters are set to transmit less than one minute in a 24-hour period, sending data six times a day, for a duration of 2 to 20 milliseconds at a time.

You Smart Meter operates within a licensed FCC frequency and meets FCC regulations to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with other wireless devices communicating within the same frequency.

At Jackson EMC, safety comes first and we can ensure you that we wouldn’t place a device on your home that could cause you or your family harm.

Smart Meters in Comparison to Everyday Devices that use RF

Smart Meter Device .1 microwatts
Cyber Cafe' (wi-fi) 10 - 20 microwatts
Laptop Computer 10 - 20 microwatts
Cell phone held up to head 30 - 10,000 microwatts
Walkie Talkie at head 500 - 42,000 microwatts
Microwave Over (2 inches from door) 5,000 microwatts

(Power density in microwatts per square centimeter)

Source: Richard Tell Associates  

FAQ Sources:

www.fcc.gov
www.epa.gov
www.fda.gov
www.who.org
http://ccst.us/