Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Characterization of radiofrequency field emissions from smart meters

Abstract

This study presents measurement data that describe radiofrequency emission levels and patterns from smart meters (rated nominally at 1 W) currently deployed in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s service territory in northern California. The smart meters in our investigation could not be set to operate continuously and required a Field Service Unit to induce short periods of emitted fields. To obtain peak field data under both laboratory and ambient conditions, a spectrum analyzer scanned across the 83 transmitting channels between 902 and 928 MHz used by the smart meter on a random frequency-hopping basis. To obtain data describing temporal emission patterns, the analyzer operated in scope mode. Duty cycle was estimated using transmit data acquired by the system operator from over 88,000 m. Instantaneous peak fields at 0.3 m in front of the meters were no more than 15% of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exposure limit for the general public, and 99.9% of the meters operated with a duty cycle of 1.12% or less during the sampling period. In a sample of measurements in six single-detached residences equipped with individual smart meters, no interior measurement of peak field exceeded 1% of the FCC’s general public exposure limit.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7

References

  1. FCC. Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields, Edition 97-01. Federal Communications Commission Office of Engineering and Technology: Washington, DC. 1997 (Report no. OET Bulletin 65, Edition 97-01).

  2. Tell RA, Sias GG, Vazquez A, Sahl J, Turman JP, Kavet RI et al Radiofrequency fields associated with the Itron smart meter. Radiat Prot Dosimetry 2012; 151: 17–29.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Electric Power Research Institute.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Richard A Tell.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tell, R., Kavet, R. & Mezei, G. Characterization of radiofrequency field emissions from smart meters. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 23, 549–553 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/jes.2012.102

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/jes.2012.102

Keywords

  • smart meters
  • radiofrequency fields
  • exposure assessment

Search

Quick links