Smart meters in New Zealand well within safety standard, study finds


Christchurch, New Zealand — (METERING.COM) — May 22, 2012 – The maximum radiation from smart meters at any distance greater than 1 m from the meter will be less than 35 percent of the allowable limit but in practice will be much lower, a study from the Electric Power Engineering Center (EPECentre) at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury has found.

This is based on maximum continuous radiation from both the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz ISM bands simultaneously and includes worst case additive reflection (from surrounding objects, such as walls or the ground). However, in practice the power output is much less and for only a small fraction of the time.

The study, Health and Safety Aspects of Electricity Smart Meters, was commissioned by Arc Innovations in the light of developing concerns in New Zealand that smart meters may present a risk of adverse health effects.

Based on modeling the study found that RF mesh deployments radiate much less power than allowable limits, while cellular (GPRS) deployments transmit data similar to phone texts at the same RF radiation levels as a mobile phone, but are generally much further away from the body than a mobile phone

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

In New Zealand the current radiation standard is the NZS2772: Part 1: 1999, which is based on the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines and is to all intents and purposes identical to other national and international standards.

Based on the findings the report recommends taking the advice from NZS2772 to “minimize unnecessary or incidental RF exposure,” that a sensible approach is to locate smart meters such that the general public are unlikely to spend longer than a few minutes per day at a distance of less than 1 m from them.

“This will ensure that mobile phone use remains, by far, the highest RF exposure source (by more than two orders of magnitude) that any individual is likely to be exposed to.”