[RFI] So-Called Utility "Smart Meters"

Andy ingraham.ma.ultranet at rcn.com
Wed Aug 13 13:38:55 EDT 2008

A few comments...

It was said that there's at least two frequency ranges being used by these
meters: 900 MHz, and "PLC", which I believe means LF, MF, or HF frequencies
carried by the power lines, similar to BPL.  The utility companies have been
doing that (RF on the power lines) for *many* decades (pre-WWII), but it
wasn't very widespread till now.

So the risk of HF RFI could theoretically be there, depending on the system
used by your utility company.

>  All the companies that came
> and gave us a bid said, "your electric bill will go up
> because these meters are setup to read a small LED
> from your tv being off; but the old type is not that
> sensitive."

I'm a bit puzzled by this.  I think they are implying that the old
mechanical meters are somewhat inaccurate (nonlinear) when the power
consumption is very low, and the new electronic meters are more linear /
more accurate.  I suppose that could be true.  But the difference has got to
be pretty small, if they are talking about the tiny power drawn by devices
that are "off".

Heck, their new-fangled electronic meter itself consumes some power too, and
you will probably be charged for that.

There could be several factors causing the new meters to increase your
bills, including the above, plus being able to monitor (and charge for)
power factor, peak usage, changing rates throughout the day, etc.  A lot of
this depends on what they are permitted to charge for, in your state.

>  They also said "that they could stay in their
> truck and read your meter from the road, even if the
> meter is on the back side of your home."
> Your comments please.

Yes, that's the whole idea.


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