Smart Meters – Frequently Asked Questions

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A very common question asked about our Smart Metering is “Do Smart Meters pose any health risks?

Independent research from the University of Canterbury has confirmed that smart meter signals pose minimal risk to health with emissions that are one hundred times weaker than cellphones which are in everyday use.

“Essentially, the research has shown that smart meter emissions fall well within the New Zealand standard and international standards. In terms of radiating devices, exposure from smart meters is significantly lower than that from typical cell phone use.”

-Dr Bill Heffernan, Principal Engineer at the Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre) in the University’s College of Engineering

Our Smart Metering falls well within New Zealand Standard NZS 2772.1:1999 “Radiofrequency Fields Part 1: Maximum exposure levels – 3 kHz to 300 GHz”. An independent study commissioned by WEL Networks (a shareholder of SmartCo) showed that:

  • Exposures to the radio signal behind the meter (on the inside of the wall), averaged over 30 seconds, were almost always less than 0.0005% of the limit allowed for the public in the New Zealand radiofrequency (RF) field exposure Standard.
  •   The maximum 30 second average exposure was less than 0.003% of the public limit.
  •   On average, the meter transmits for one minute 22 seconds over the day.

All SmartCo Smart Meters use the same communications technology as WEL Networks.

The meters themselves are also compliant with International Standards:

What type of radio signal is used?  
SmartCo meters utilise their own radio system that uses a technique called Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. This is a technique which is similar to (but not the same as) Wi-Fi. It operates in the 900Mhz band rather than 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz that Wi-Fi operates in.

What is the transmitting output power?

The SmartCo transmitters have a maximum output of 1 watt, this automatically reduces to an operational level based on the path for connectivity, typically output levels of 0.5watts are normal.

Could the Smart Meter be creating voltage spikes or harmonics?

SmartCo meters are manufactured to NZ requirements and tested to IEC Standards these have strict limits for power quality distortion including harmonics.

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