PG&E’s Big Confession

In April of 2010 the EMF Safety Network filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) asking for hearings on health impacts, including “Smart” Meter radio frequency (RF) emissions data. We wrote:

“PG&E’s paltry, inconsistent and contradictory information on RF emissions from Smart Meters is unbelievable and at odds with other RF expert findings.  Several PG&E bulletins and spokespersons make varying claims on how often the Smart Meter electric meters transmit RF, anywhere from every hour to every 4 to 6 hours to 2% or 4% of the time.

We just wanted the facts, but the CPUC rubber stamped PG&E’s claims of RF safety and dismissed our application stating:

” All radio devices in PG&E’s Smart Meters are licensed or certified by the FCC and comply with all FCC requirements.”

“Smart Meters produce RF emissions far below the levels of many commonly used devices.”

PG&E provides information from Richard Tell Associates on their website titled, “Supplemental Report on An Analysis of Radiofrequency Fields Associated with Operation of the PG&E SmartMeter Program Upgrade System”  This report states Smart Meters transmit at 1 watt with 0 antennae gain. It claims:

The 1 watt transmitter is configured to transmit data approximately once every four hours back to the company so its duty cycle is very small (the actual data transmission duration during any four hour period will vary, however, depending on how often a particular meter transmitter acts as a repeater for other nearby meters).

From PG&E’s Smart Meter FAQ: SmartMeters™ utilize a low power (1 watt) wireless radio to send customer energy-usage information wirelessly to PG&E for data collection.….Do electric SmartMeters™ constantly emit RF? PG&E answers:

No. SmartMeters™ communicate intermittently, with each RF-signal typically lasting from 2 to 20 milliseconds. These intermittent signals total, on average, 45 seconds per day. For the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day, the meter is not transmitting any RF.

In a letter to Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, the FCC writes, “the devices [Smart Meters] normally transmit for less than one second a few times a day and consumers are normally tens of feet or more from the meter face…”

All right, enough with the false claims! Just give us some real facts!  Recently CPUC administrative law judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa ordered all investor owned utilities (IOU’s ) to answer Smart Meter radio frequency (RF) questions. PG&E’s answers are an astounding confession!  Question 2: How many times in total (average and maximum) is a smart meter scheduled to transmit during a 24-hour period?

PG&E says the average number of RF pulses for the electric meter would be about 10,000, per meter, per day and the maximum number over 190,000.

90% of these pulses are for the mesh network maintenance (signals bouncing from homes) and only 6 pulses are for reading the meter data. This doesn’t include Home Area Network transmissions.

How about peak power figures?  The PG&E electric meter transmits at 900MHz with 1 watt of transmit power. It has an antennae gain 4.0 dBi for a peak level power of 2.5 watts.  That’s two and a half times more than their safety data stated.

The wireless gas meters transmit between 4 and 5 times a day at 132-794 mW.

Answers provided by San Diego Gas and Electric and So Cal Gas were similar, although PG&E electric meters appear to be five times stronger, just like Sage Associates found in their study.

Southern California Edison missed the deadline to provide answers to the CPUC , but they will be posted here once they do.

This entry was posted in Commentary, Government, Hall of Shame, Public Health, smart meters and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to PG&E’s Big Confession

  1. sue says:

    Thank you Sandi and others for your tenacity and perseverance…now we must get these things off our homes and out of our neighborhoods….another huge waste of tax payer and rate payer dollars….something we never needed or wanted in the first place, have paid for with our hard earned dollars and with our health and safety.

  2. Amy O'Hair says:

    “That’s two and a half times more than their safety data stated.”

    2.5 watts is also 2.5 times what the FCC allows for an unlicensed transmitter.

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  4. Petra Brokken says:

    Where is the documentation on the PG&E answers? I click on it and get a cute little photo of a child and an adult. Thanks.

  5. admin says:

    Sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know- I will fix this right away.

  6. admin says:

    I also added links to SDG&E and So Cal Gas RF responses.

  7. Pingback: Smart Meters Emit 9,000+ Signals Per Day, Says PG&E Under Judge's Order | Sunroom Desk

  8. Pingback: Wising Up to ‘Smart’ – RF Digest 11-3-2011 | eon3EMFblog.net

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  10. Bob Heisler says:

    Sandi, thank you very much for this invaluable information. I think that, as part of the Occupy movement, we should organize a march on P G & E’s offices in Santa Rosa to voice our displeasure with their SmartMeter program. Your comments about this idea would be welcomed.

  11. admin says:

    The “Stupid” Grid is a perfect example of the corporate/ govt. colluding money power grab that is robbing the people and hurting the environment. A march on PG&E is a great idea. Go for it!

  12. Jane Jarlsberg says:

    thank you Sandi, but i have 5 meters on my bedroom wall serving 4 apartments…not just mine…i am actually looking to move back to Point Arena area out of range of so much emissions…thanks for keeping us informed. peace, jane

    – Show quoted text -

  13. Deanna Munson says:

    i dont know beans about technicalities,but everyone is still stating 1 watt and 2.5 watt and my Portland General Electric owned meter says 3 watt right on it.im in oregon.?

  14. admin says:

    The worst situations are for people in Apt buildings, next to banks of meters. It’s unthinkable that the utilities, with a green light from the CPUC have set up their radio system, without customer permission and without warning right next to homes and bedrooms.

  15. Debbie says:

    I’ll second Bob’s idea to organize a protest on the Santa Rosa PG&E offices.
    I think we should pass out literature and educate PG&E employees on the
    dangers of RF radiation. They have been lied to by their employers. Once
    they understand how bad these meters are for their families, they’ll start
    asking hard questions about contradictions of PG&E info vs. independent
    studies.

  16. Melodie Chrislock says:

    How are these watts different from the watts we generally see listed for say a light bulb?

  17. Kaushik says:

    Its a shame that some people are misguiding people in the name of ‘investigative journalism’ and what not. I find the statments made in this blogpost a complete distortion of facts and seems to be with some political malicious intent rather than pure social intent with robust scientific understanding.

  18. Kaushik says:

    Melodie, these are Radio power levels. So 1 Watt RF would mean radio energy typically several tens of times less than the light bulb. But it would be unfair to compare the two in terms of potential threat. However the most important thing is that the PG&E RF signals are sent out for miniscule fractions of time each day. Simply speaking far lesser in terms of RF power, distance to human body and usage compared to our mobile phones.

  19. admin says:

    Kaushik, you work in the tech industry, yes?

  20. Pingback: PG&E Report Shows Smart Meter Critic Is Right; Cindy Sage To Speak at Glendale Smart Meter Forum November 10 | Sunroom Desk

  21. Jim Ostrowski says:

    For the sake of argument let’s just say the “time averaged” power output permitted over a period of 1 day is “limited” to “only” 1 watt….

    Something that people often miss when talking about watts is that watts are defined as a RATE of power usage. When ever one discusses rates, a time factor needs to be considered. Over how long a period is this “time averaging” taking place?

    Well, PG&E says that over a period of one (1) day, the Smartmeter only transmits for a total of only 45 seconds. If this is true, and we are using time averaging, this would mean that over the period of one day (84,000 seconds) the total amount of power allowed to be broadcast by the SM is 1 watt, times 84,000 seconds which equals 84,000 joules or, IOW, 84,000 watt – seconds of energy transmitted. If we divide 84,000 seconds by 45 seconds you get a value 1866.6 watts per each second that the SM is actually transmitting.

    Summarrizing then, this result means that for each second that the SM actually transmits, it is allowed by “time averaging” to pump 1866.6 joules of energy into the surrounding environment. This is more total energy per second than a microwave oven pumps into a piece of food exposed to point directly in below it’s internal waveguide.

    A microwave oven with a rating of only 1500 Watts (per second) is considered to be a “high power” microwave oven.

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  25. Steve says:

    Wow – What a lot of misunderstanding and bad math. The PG&E radios have a maximum of 1 watt of output power – period. The reason they have a 4 dBi effective 2.5 watts, is because the RF energy is aimed out the front of the meter! Remember, the meters are mounted in metal boxes which greatly reduce the RF that comes through the walls. They guy with 5 meters on his wall shouldn’t be too concerned because they are in metal boxes on the outside of his wall. The vast majority of RF is going away from his house. (Put a mirror behind a 40 watt light bulb and you have reflected half its light effectively doubling its light in one direction and making it appear like 80 watts. Of course it is dark behind the mirror!)

    RF and light have the same properties, just different wave lengths. They are both types of electro-magnetic waves. Its like comparing bright day light to indoor light from a 40 watt bulb. Stand out side for 30 minutes and you might get a sun burn, but stand 10 feet from a 40 watt light bulb and you can’t even feel its heat, let alone get a sun burn.

    Everyone is excited about a measly 1 watt radio, yet FCC allows homes to be located a few hundred feet from a 50,000 watt FM station.

    And the guy who calculated joules is in error. The radio puts out 1 watt, which over 1 second is 1 watt-second – period. If the radio transmitted for one hour, it would be 1 watt-hour. But the radio transmits a total of 45 seconds a day which is only 45 watt-seconds not 1866 watt-seconds. Divide 45 watt-seconds/3600 sec/hour = 0.0125 watt-hours of RF a day! We are talking minute amounts of RF!

    Your cell phone can be close to 1 watt, (old analog cell phones were up to 4 watts!) so if you talk for an hour a day, you get 1 watt-hour. PG&E meters are at least 1/80th as much RF energy as talking on a cell phone for 1 hour a day and the RF is spread out across the day, not concentrated in one hour and the meter is not pressed against your head.

    Again, RF and light have the same properties. Light is dimmer as you get further away, just like RF is lower power as you get further away. At 10 feet from a light bulb, its brightness is 1/100th. (Varies by the square of the distance.) Same with RF. At 10 feet, the RF energy is 1/100th compared to 1 foot.

  26. Jim Ostrowski says:

    The trouble is PG&E has publicly admitted that the SM’s output power spec of 1 watt is arrived at by “time averaging” which is never explained as meaning anything else that what the plain dictionary meaning of the words imply.

    If 1 watt is the “time averaged” power but the thing only “really” transmits for 45 seconds a day, why then does a one watt continuous wave transmitter that transmits all day long without interruption ALSO count as a “1 watt” transmitter? A one watt CW transmitter that broadcasts for 24 hours a day & puts out 86 Kilojoules a day is still rated as a “one watt” transmitter.

    You can’t have it both ways, time averaging means you are figuring the average power output over a prolonged period. It is absolutely documented that the smartmeter outputs intermittent spike pulses on average 6 per minute for maybe 2 – 20 microseconds at a time. PG&E states the total broadcast time is only 45 seconds a day, but this 45 seconds is divided up in such a way that people are subjected to it all day long. Why should that be, if there wasn’t some need to keep people from having their brains fried by 1800 watt uWaves for 45 straight seconds which would likely kill or gravely injure someone immediately?

    But since PG&E doesn’t come up with an actual schematic and bill of materials for the SM we will never really know for sure what is REALLY going on in there.

    The whole thing was done by underhanded stealth and surprise, PG&E had no permission to use their meter reading easement to install radio transmitting devices of any output rating on the sides of anyone’s house for any reason and that’s all that really needs to be said.

    I see nothing in the way of documented facts that contradict my calculations, except a days worth of seconds is 86,400 seconds not 84,000. Other than that I stand by what I wrote.

  27. Richard says:

    @Steve – I’m glad to see that someone else understands the true scale of this issue.

    @everyone else… Do you understand how small this “radiation” really is?!

    I won’t say that it’s biological effects are insignificant, because I don’t know for certain, and we are electrochemical by nature…but the amount of radiation is really, really small.

    Our eyes are biologically tuned for “visible light” portion of the EM spectrum, and so you can imagine any RF/MW source as a light that we just can’t see. Now, if we *could* see it, then would anyone want to live with a bright light blinking on the side of their house?…Of course not. But the transmitter on SmartMeter is not a bright light, folks. It’s 1 watt…Even if it’s 2.5 watts…So what!

    I just can’t buy into all the hysteria…

  28. Jim Ostrowski says:

    Thank you for not saying that the SM’s biological effects are not significant, Richard! One of our plant friends might have a problem with that idea:

    Have a look!:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsuP_WBBr2c

    This RF analyzer looks like it has an attenuator on it and from about 10 ft away it’s driven into over range. 2000 mw +! The analyzer’s small antenna is absorbing >2 watts at 10 ft away! Let’s see you guys do some math…

  29. Jim Ostrowski says:

    From “The Benchtop Electronics Reference Manual” by Victor F.C. Veley ISBN 0-8306-0285-2 (Tab Books 1987)

    Example problem 156-7, page 559

    The average power of a radar pulse is 1 kW, the pulse width is 2 uS and the pulse frequency is 400 Hz. What is the pulse’s peak power ?

    Peak power =

    average power
    _______________________________
    Pulse Duration x Pulse Frequency
    Solution:

    1000/(2 x 10-6 * 400) = 1,250,000 Watts (1.25 Megawatts)

    Hmmmm… well, let’s see what we get when we plug some PG&E typical Smartmeter numbers into the above equation:

    Average power = 1 watt
    Pulse Duration = 5 x 10E-3 seconds
    Pulse Frequency = .1 Hz (1 pulse every 6 seconds)

    solution:
    1 / (5 x 10-3*.1) = 2000 Watts
    Peak Power = 2000 Watts

    Now that’s interesting, isn’t it?

    Let’s see if we can do an experiment with an RF analyzer and see if we get anywhere close to that 2000 watt figure, shall we?

    Take another look at the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsuP_WBBr2c
    and then let’s see if we can apply the inverse square law of radio propagation in order to come up with a peak output watts value from the Smartmeter that is being detected by the RF Analyzer. The inverse square law can be stated in 2 ways:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_propagation#Free_space_propagation

    1. Doubling the distance from a transmitter means that the power density of the radiated wave at the new location is reduced to one-quarter of its previous value.
    2. Halving the distance from a transmitter means that the power density of the radiated wave at the new location is increased to four times it’s previous value.

    Using (2.) and recalling that the RF analyzer is detecting >2000 mW from 10 ft (120 inches) away, we can construct the following table:

    120 inches 2 Watts (2000 mW)
    60 inches 8 Watts
    30 inches 32 watts
    15 inches 128 watts
    7.5 inches 512 watts
    3.75 inches (about 1 wavelength at 1 ghz) 2048 watts

  30. Richard says:

    @Jim …except that, according to PGE docs*, 1 watt is the PEAK power, not the average power; so your equation results in an average power of 500 microwatts!

    *
    http://www.pge.com/includes/docs/pdfs/myhome/edusafety/systemworks/rf/ccst/pge_response_to_ccst_report.pdf

    And, although I am uncertain of the (any?) biological effects of low power EM fields, I just don’t buy the dying plant video. But thanks anyway :-)

  31. admin says:

    PG&E has revealed the meters transmit power is 1000 mW with an antennae gain of 4dBi making the peak power 2500mW. This is just one meter, out of millions being added to the environment.

  32. Richard says:

    @admin – Okay, so multiply by 2.5… We’re still talking about transmission of a very few milliwatts from the source, never mind being some distance away from the source… OH, MY EYES!! **I’m really not trying to trivialize the proliferation of EM fields being added to the environment…It’s an interesting topic, which is why I find myself reading these comment threads…and I acknowledge the possibility of biological effects, because I suspect that a small percentage of the population may, in fact, be hypersensitive to EM fields…But the millions of smart meters chirping signals into the environment is like a million *tiny* pebbles being dropped into different parts of Lake Michigan at different times…Lots of tiny (teeny tiny!) splashes, each splash diminishes rapidly, and the effect on the lake is negligible. Double the mass of each pebble (or x2.5 in this case) and the effect is still negligible. Okay…I think I’m done with this thread :-)

  33. admin says:

    If every meter transmits an average of 10,000 RF pulses a day at 2.5W, times millions of meters– this can in no way be considered small.

  34. Richard says:

    @admin… but 10,000 x a few milliwatts *is* small (i.e., “negligible”)

  35. Jim Ostrowski says:

    Richard wrote:

    “And, although I am uncertain of the (any?) biological effects of low power EM fields, I just don’t buy the dying plant video”

    hmmmm.. on reviewing one of the other videos on the guy’s channel I think you could have a point, Richard.

    Here’s another video that offers a better view of the antenna that’s attached to his RF meter:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/martinwea#p/a/u/0/BhJeFFAvbbw

    I sent youtube channel occupant “martinwea” a message asking for some clarification. I think the highest range on the meter is 1999 mW but the antenna he is using is definitely not the one offered by the mfr. This other video shows a better view of the gadget attached to the antenna port with a couple of LED’s on a disk inside a glass bubble. This would support the idea of perhaps an internal amplifier of some kind boosting the readings. Glass bubbles don’t really compute with me as being any kind of part of a “normal” antenna.

    But if you can be skeptical about a youtube video, then we can be skeptical of what PG&E publishes in it’s documents. It doesn’t jibe with me that they would give the transmitter a one watt rating if that that didn’t mean it was capable of of dumping 86,400 joules a day into the environment, like any other 1 watt radio transmitter is…and doing it all in 45 seconds would certainly account for the damage to the plant in the video.

    Besides, none of this addresses the issue of our utility company using their meter reading easement to install a radio transmitter of any kind to the sides of our houses. PG&E went about this program in the most belligerent, aggressive and obnoxious manner possible and is still trying to force their program on everyone.

    Sorry, that’s just wrong and the whole output power argument while interesting is a side issue. -

  36. Richard says:

    >>Besides, none of this addresses the issue of our utility company using their meter reading easement to install a radio transmitter of any kind to the sides of our houses.<<

    Agreed…but that's not exactly what this thread is about; is it? It's about power levels and the math involved. :-)

    A final note: I believe the long term issue with SmartMeters will be about network security and personal privacy, NOT about low-power EM fields and health…The purported biological effects on plants, and bees, and the like should be easily reproducible in a controlled experiment, but no one has done it. I am familiar with what "research" has been done, but it is not compelling.

  37. Richard says:

    @admin – The cell phone scenario is a totally different beast. Cell phones emit continuously and people hold them against their head; neither of which is true for SmartMeters. Don’t compare apples and oranges. As I’ve stated, “I acknowledge the possibility of biological effects, because I suspect that a small percentage of the population may, in fact, be hypersensitive to EM fields”…but personal accounts and hearsay (he say, you say, she say, or whomever say…) is no substitute for science. If it’s real, then it should be testable! Show me.

  38. admin says:

    Richard, Check out Dr. Daniel Hirsch findings: http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/04/20/daniel-hirsch-on-ccsts-fuzzy-math/
    Also check out these expert comments: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=3676

  39. Richard says:

    @admin – Yeah…I’ve seen that one, too…Now, come on… His critique should be called “My Fuzzy Math”. You cannot compare whole body (volumetric) with at ear (distance). Any attentive middle school student could tell you that. And these informal interviews conducted in the hall and on the street are not impressive… “Next?”

  40. admin says:

    I don’t think anything will impress upon you the hazards of this technology at this time Richard. Maybe you’ll just need to have your own experience, or know someone who will.

  41. Richard says:

    @admin – Correct. And I stand by this: To this point, I have seen no evidence other than personal stories and hearsay to suggest that *low-power*, wireless technology is any sort of hazard to life; although there may be a very small segment of the human population that is sensitive to EM fields of this type.

    The point of this thread and its root article is about the level of power being transmitted. In response, commenters have mis-used the relevant equations to erroneously inflate the power values to suit their misguided attack on SmartMeters.

    I am not an industry rep., nor am I in any way connected to it, my computer is hard wired (not wireless), and I don’t stand any closer to the microwave oven than the situation requires. I also favor the precautionary levels for wireless as stated in the Bioinitiative Report, but I’m not exactly sure of why…I just think we need to be careful with pushing too hard for the sake of “better coverage”.

    To me, the SmartMeter program seems pretty cool…Meters chirping/relaying the data meter to meter, instead of blasting it from each user directly to the nearest company office, which would require a lot more power. Yes, the meters were pushed on the users/public, and I think the utilities should be more considerate in that regard…Seems like they are beginning to recognize concerns of the EM-sensitive population (recent posts about a woman’s meter being replaced).

    What I see time and again, however, are fearful comments and hysteria related to a poor understanding of EM fields, basic math, and the difference between opinion and science.

    Education is the key my friends. :-)

  42. Jim Ostrowski says:

    “The purported biological effects on plants, and bees, and the like should be easily reproducible in a controlled experiment”

    The implementation of the so-called “Smartgrid” IS a controlled experiment, Richard… and guess what? YOU are the GUINEA PIG (assuming you have received and are living with a Smartmeter)

    The “Control” part of the experiment, the era of analog meters, is finished. We know what the level of cancers and lots of other health defects were before the advent of Smartmeters, so now it’s on to step 2.

    Step 2 is just a matter of getting access to the Guinea pig’s “habitats”, removing the analog meter by stealth and force if necessary, and installing a radio transmitting device. Doing it this way has the advantage of bypassing laws against theft and trespassing, and when we’re done, we will have a “Smartgrid” that won’t require any meter readers anymore! Yay!

    What a score for “Big Science”, huh?

    What’s also really great for the experimenters is when the guinea pigs actually speak out in favor of being experimented on! Like when they agree that s one watt continuous rating for a device does not mean 86 Kilojoules a day like it usually does! See, it say’s so right here in this memo…all these people reporting personal ill effects, bees disappearing, and plants dying, obviously didn’t read the memo.

    There is no proof that the Smartmeter is safe, the burden of proof is on them not us, and after violating our trust by colluding with Wellington to break the seal on our analog meters (on millions of occasions) thereby tampering with a trusted and agreed upon metering system, we are not going to start just believing everything they have to say or what they put in a document just now.

    Thank you for calling it to our attention though…

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  44. admin says:

    Sent from Glen- explaining the average vs. median:

    The footnote on page 5, table 2-1 of that PG$E submission forced by the judge also shows the average (called ‘Mean’) to be 62 seconds, rather than 45.3 seconds as indicated in the chart.

    PG$E deceptively used “Median” (without stating “Median”) as the average in the chart even though median has no applicability in this case, other than to fool, misrepresent and reduce the number.

    The footnote shows the mean (the appropriate average in this case) is actually 62 seconds and the equivalent number of radiation transmissions, therefore, is 13,661 which rounds to the nearest thousand at 14,000.

    The calculation to get the 13,661 is:

    45.3 / 62 = 9,981 / X

    45.3 seconds is to the true 62 seconds as 9,981 transmissions is to the true # of transmissions, which we call X.

    Solving for X, X = 13,661

    Rounding to thousands: 14,000 per day.

    With 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour day, that equates to approximately one transmission every 6 seconds on average.

    86,400 / 14,000 = 6.18. Rounding to nearest second = 6 seconds.

    PG$E puts “Average” in the table but uses the “Median Average, which is a specialized average with specific applications, not appropriate for calculating the average number of radiation transmissions per meter. Then, hidden in the footnote they mention ‘Mean’ as to an almost insignificant adjustment as they represent it. And of course, in the footnote an extra 17 seconds doesn’t sound like much for a special case as they frame it.

    But the extra 17 seconds is actually an additional 40% approximately, so the number of radiation transmissions also has to be adjusted by the same proportionate increase.

    PG$E didn’t say “Mean Average” in the footnote, just “Mean,” so an ordinary person would not be aware of such an understatement in the chart.
    The reason for the footnote at all, in my opinion, was to cover themselves from an obvious dishonesty and fraud in responding to the judge’s request.

    The intentional understatement misrepresentation cover-up in the chart/footnote combination was likely done after extensive deliberation amongst the legal and technical people at PG$E. Kind of similar to selling a packaged knife set delivering the knife holder, but hiding the knives and only giving them to the buyer if the buyer notices the knives are missing.

  45. AWK says:

    People … antennas cannot create energy!

    The concept of gain in an antenna is simply quantification of how much an antenna can orient it’s energy in a particular direction, and the gain (in this case 2.5 dBi) is ONLY valid in the far field i.e. it’s an analysis term. The antenna is still only radiating 1W if it’s input power is 1W.

  46. Redi Kilowatt says:

    answer to Deanna Munson,
    You claim that your SmartMeter is labeled 3 watts right on it, that is not true.
    What is the label is, is 3W, that means it is for metering a 3 WIRE 240 volt service.
    There are also commercial meters that say 4W, that means those meters measure 4 wire 3 phase circuits that are used on multiple services that use 120/208/240 volts and 277/480 volts both delta and wye.

  47. admin says:

    The antenna gain is 4.0 and the EIRP is 2.5W. Antenna gain concentrates the power. It’s similar to using a magnifying glass in the sunlight to focus the light on a particular spot. Its still the sun, but with the focus of the glass the light concentrated and it can burn.

  48. darco says:

    As someone who is familiar with radios and RF, when someone says a “1-watt radio”, they mean peak power—not average power. One watt is not very much, my HT (a fancy walkie-talkie) has a peak power output of 5 watts.

    No passive antenna can increase the total power output of a radio. When you see the “gain” of an antenna measured in dB, it is simply comparing the highest-gain portion of the antenna to a theoretical isotropic antenna (A purely theoretical antenna that would radiate energy equally in all directions). As a previous commented posted, the only reasonable direction for the gain to be oriented would be away from the house. In other words, if you are concerned about RF exposure, *you would actually want one of these antennas*.

    But really, you shouldn’t be concerned about the amount of power being radiated by these smart meters. The amount of RF energy that you absorb from them is absolutely minuscule compared to the total amount of RF energy you receive from other sources, like cell phones, Wi-Fi, baby-monitors, garage doors, etc.

    Jim asserted (and did not even bother to retract) that these smart meters (when transmitting) radiate with an astounding power of 1866.6 watts. This is an absolutely ridiculous amount of power. The smart meter would probably burst into flames if it was transmitting at that power.

    Let’s assume this radio is sending at full power for two minutes (way longer than what PG&E claims) a day. This is 120 watt-seconds of energy (1watt*60secondsPerMinute*2minutes). This works out to 1/30th of a watt-hour, or 0.0333-watt-hours of energy.

    Melodie asked how these watts compared to the watt ratings you commonly see on lightbulbs. For the old-school incandescent light bulbs, they are exactly the same (the newer fluorescent bulbs tend to be marketed as “60-watt equivalents”, but actually use much less energy). If you run a 60-watt incandescent light bulb for an hour, you have used 60-watt-hours of energy.

    If 60-watt-hours would run a 60-watt light bulb for an hour, how long would it run on 0.0333-watt-hours?

    Two seconds.

    If you are experiencing migraines or other health problems, you have my utmost sympathy—but your efforts would be better spent searching for the true cause of your symptoms. If you were truly sensitive to low-power RF, I honestly believe that living anywhere near modern civilization would be absolutely intolerable.

  49. admin says:

    Your write, ” living anywhere near modern civilization would be absolutely intolerable.”

    That’s exactly the problem. RF radiation is so ubiquitous- it is making millions sick (worldwide). People know there is a connection because when they reduce their exposure they feel better and their health improves.

  50. darco says:

    RF exposure may or may not be a problem for a segment of the population—I don’t know, I haven’t personally performed (or directly read) any research on the subject. It is certainly an area in which research would be warranted. Acute RF sensitivity may be a problem for a small portion of the population, but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t met anyone with an obvious acute RF sensitivity. I am certainly not RF sensitive, at least not to the common low-power RF stuff that is everywhere.

    The point I was trying to make is that I do not understand this complete hysteria around smart meters. There is nothing special about the low-power RF transceivers they use—they are pretty much the same kinds of transceivers used everywhere: Walkie-talkies. Wi-Fi. Cab driver dispatch. Police radios. Garage-door openers. Baby monitors. Wireless game controllers. Wireless keyboards. Remote-controlled toys. And especially cell phones.

    If your concerns about human RF exposure are legitimate, then you should ignore smart meters and focus on cell phones—which nominally radiate orders of magnitude more RF energy, a great deal of which is absorbed directly by the human head. If you think that Smart Meters are hurting people, then cell phones must be killing people!…

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  60. Pietas says:

    people don’t understand how we can be sensitive to this. I am not sensitive to computer wifi but I do not understand how someone cant be sensitive to this! It’s like even if the people were in a microwave oven they wouldn’t realize they were melting. did they kill too many brain cells with beer in high school and college that they are not feeling it? that can’t be it though because my dad doesn’t drink and he didn’t feel driving through a town that had smart wireless gas or water meters installed already.

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