How many RF pulses per day from a Smart Meter?

Utility companies have repeatedly claimed that their Smart Meters emit

    • Only 6 times a day
    • Less than a minute
    • Only a few minutes each hour (Southern California Edison — SCE)
    • Once every 4-6 hours (Pepco)
    • “Does not continuously broadcast all day long” (Commonwealth Edison – ComEd)

Members of the public have measured Smart Meter pulses occurring every few seconds. Yet the utility companies consistently denied this, and even the FCC claimed that Smart Meters emit pulses “for less than one second a few times a day”. [i]

On October 18, 2011, CPUC Administrative Law Judge Yip-Kikugawa ordered California utilities PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, and SoCal Gas to answer questions on Smart Meter radiofrequency transmissions.

Here are the reports filed on November 1, 2011 by the utility companies:

PG&E               Landis & Gyr and GE Smart Meters, with Silver Spring Networks software, Aclara gas Smart Meters
SCE                  Itron Smart Meters
SDG&E           Itron Smart Meters

Question #2 How many times in total (average and maximum) is a smart meter scheduled to transmit during a 24-hour period?

PG&E electric Smart Meters transmit about 14,000 (mean average) to 190,000 times each day, including the “only 6 times” for data transmission [***].

SCE and SDG&E’s answers are less clear. Their electric Smart Meters transmit 1270 times (average), a maximum of 26,000 times per day, and 97% transmit less than 2500 times per day.

Most of the transmissions are for network maintenance (though duty cycles for data transmission can increase). Also, these transmission totals may not include the relay transmissions from neighboring meters in the mesh network.

There is other information in the reports as well.

List of Smart Meters and utility companies (partial):

GE Smart Meters are used by ComEd (Illinois), PG&E (California), CMP (Maine), FP& L (Florida), Pepco (Maryland)

Landis & Gyr Smart Meters are used by MID (Modesto, CA), SMUD (Sacramento, CA), PECO (Pennsylvania), PG&E (California), CMP (Maine)

Itron Smart Meters are used by SCE (California), SDGE/Sempra (California), LADWP (California), National Grid (Massachusetts), BC Hydro (British Columbia), Fortis BC (British Columbia)

Unfortunately, no public agency has required data from Sensus, Elster, Siemens, Neptune, Mueller, Metrix, or the other Smart Meter manufacturers.


[***] Note: There is a technicality that’s important in PG&E’s data.

The figure in PG&E’s Table 2-1, about number of transmissions, used median average. That number is 9600 pulses. Median average is simply the middle number in a group of numbers. It is not an indicator of the true average, and it is a way to lie about numbers. PG&E did not provide the actual data they were analyzing.

Mean average is what is used to get the average of a group of numbers, not median average.

In the footnote to the chart as well as in Response 1 (two pages previously), PG&E states that the mean average duration of transmissions is 62 seconds, not 45.3 seconds.

If you divide the length of transmission into the number of seconds, it raises the average transmissions per day to 13,778 or almost 14,000.

Keeping the transmissions below 1 minute and below 10,000 is a psychological ploy, just like the advertisements selling something for $19.99. The utility companies do it by playing with averaging..

By the way, PG&E doesn’t state the length of each transmission. Using their stats, the length is approximately .0045 seconds.


An article by EMF Safety Network about these results:
PG&E’s Big Confession



[i] Letter to Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, April 21, 2011


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