Smart? Power!

So we got a postcard in the mail Saturday telling us that our neighborhood is getting smart meters in the next two weeks. I’ll be posting occasional updates on the process and the unit, which bizarrely is getting the tin-hat treatment here in Vermont and elsewhere. Critics argue that they are bathing us in radio waves and putting our health at risk.

Having looked at the radio wave emissions from “smart meters,” they put out about the same amount of radiation as a WiFi network, a fraction of a percentage of the amount that leaks from a microwave oven and an even lower percentage of what comes out of a cell phone, I am not worried about the radiation danger. If you don’t want to do the math, about 12,500 smart meters put out the same radiation as one cell phone; or about 100 smart meters put out the same energy as one microwave oven.

Adding a smart meter will raise our background radiation by approximately 0.0002 mW/cm2. To put it into context, making a cell phone call puts out between 1 and 5 mW/cm2.

That’s assuming I’m standing 10 feet from it, or about at the kitchen door. Given that I sit three feet from a WiFi source in my home office and that on a good day I can pick up 3-4 WiFi signals from here, I guess I’m not too worried about the extra dose from a smart meter.

When CVPS first rolled out its SmartPower proposal, I did some research and found one study in California that suggested utilities needed to do more work on the units, based on the concern that if you had an apartment next to the meter room for a large complex, you could conceivably be living / sleeping within three feet of several hundred meters at once. I think this does sound like a possible problem. Just not for me, or anybody else in Vermont, with the possible exception of a UVM dorm. I trust they’ll adjust their smart meters accordingly.

I’ll keep you apprised as we go along.


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