Smart meter emissions graph

Smart meter emissions graph

Ed note:  In the spirit of an image being equal to one thousand words, please look at the graph below.  The graph was created using data supplied to Auckland City Council (prior to the advent of the “super city” Auckland Council) by Mighty River Power.

Mighty River Power owns the smart metering business “Metrix” as well as four electricity retailers, namely Mercury Energy, Tiny Mighty, Bosco and Globug.  (The latter company provides a pre-pay electricity service in which customers have both a smart meter plus a second RF producing device (known as a Globug) installed in their home; you can read more about this system HERE.)

As a general rule, Metrix has been installing Elster gREX mesh network smart meters in its customers’ homes. These are a type of radio mesh meter.


New screenshot of smart meter emsisions graph

As you can see from the graph (which you can enlarge by clicking on it), at close range to the radio mesh network smart meter, the exposure from the meter when it is transmitting is very high.

Please also note that the limit for RF at 900 MHZ, according to NZ Standard (NZS) 2772.1:1999 is approximately 450 µW/cm2 (450 microwatts per centimetre squared).

However, under normal operating conditions, smart meters do not emit RF constantly – they emit RF in brief bursts.  Some smart meters produce RF every fifteen minutes; others may emit RF more or less often.  Testing of a smart meter in operation will show its emission profile.)

The graph above shows that during these brief emissions, the intensity of RF within a few centimetres of the smart meter is between 100 and 200 times 450 µW/cm2. But this is still legal, because if you average the meter’s emissions over six minutes (during most of which time the meter is not emitting at all) you come up with the answer that the average emission is practically zero.  (Time-averaging over six minutes is specified under NZS 2772.1:1999.)

To put the emissions into perspective, the report compiled by a coalition of scientist available at, just 0.1 microwatts per centimetre squared is recommended as the upper limit for human exposure. (Yes, that it just one tenth of one microwatt per centimetre squared.)

Fortunately smart meters are not compulsory in NZ so no one needs to put up with this type of unnecessary exposure to this type of radiation which is classified as a possible carcinogen (type 2B).


A note about units of measurement: Most of the posts on this site use microwatts per metre squared as a unit of measurement.  Using this measurement, the upper limit under NZS 2772.2:1999 is approximately 4.5 million microwatts per metre squared while the upper limit recommended in the BioInitiative Report is 1000 microwatts per metre squared.

Other posts on the site that discuss the emissions of different types of smart meters may be found HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE (under the Technical FAQs section).


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