Friday, 14 September 2012

What is a Smart Meter?

Smart Meters

Environmental Health Services of the BCCDC requested permission of BC Hydro to measure the radiofrequency (RF) emissions from a bank of Itron Smart Meters installed on BC Hydro property.

The objective was to conduct far field measurements of the power density of RF waves emitted by Itron Smart Meters and to compare the readings to the public exposure limits (uncontrolled environments) set by Health Canada Safety Code 6 -- the code which establishes permissible levels of RF exposure in Canada. From those measurements we produced this report for information purposes: Measurement of Radiofrequency (RF) Emissions from BC Hydro’s Itron Smart Meters.

Information about the health effects of exposure to smart meters is available in the Smart Meter and Cancer Risk Statement from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer. 

What are Smart Meters?

Smart Meters are electronic devices used by utility companies to remotely collect information for billing and operating purposes. They are connected wirelessly to a set of access points also called collectors to form a Smart Meter System. The System uses a two-way communication technology to collect information, monitor the consumption of energy and control the grid. The System is also known as an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).

Technican measuring the RF power density from a Smart Meter

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) are systems that measure, collect and analyse energy usage, and communicate with metering devices such as electricity meters, gas meters, heat meters, and water meters, either on request or on a schedule. These systems include hardware, software, communications, consumer energy displays and controllers, customer associated systems, Meter Data Management (MDM) software, and supplier business systems. 

The network between the measurement devices and business systems allows collection and distribution of information to customers, suppliers, utility companies and service providers. This enables these businesses to participate in demand response services. AMI differs from traditional automatic meter reading (AMR) in that it enables two-way communications with the meter.   

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