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AMI Safety

IREA understands that customers have questions about the implementation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). AMI is not new in the electric utility industry. It is a proven technology with nearly 80 million meters already in place. It is new for many IREA customers, though, and we want to provide answers to any questions you have.

AMI and Radio Frequency (RF) Technology

Some customers have questions regarding the health effects of AMI technology, specifically regarding radio frequency (RF) emissions. The meters will transmit brief signals unless the power fails, in which case they will broadcast an alert to us, or unless we call upon them for a response, which will rarely happen. All meters IREA installs as part of the AMI project will operate well below RF emission limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). They will generate much less RF energy than many other household items we use daily, including cell phones and microwaves.

The interactive chart below shows the relative levels of radio frequency emitted by several commonly used electronic devices. An AMI meter emits just 0.000015 milliwatts of radio frequency per square centimeter at just 3 feet away, while a cell phone emits 12,667 times as much RF when held to an ear.

Cell phone Cordless phone Microwave oven Wifi signal Human Body Towers Earth Meter

Cell phone

Cordless phone

Microwave oven

Wifi signal

Human Body




Source: Federal Communications Commission

The resources linked below offer additional information on RF and AMI:

• Electric Power Research Institute, A Perspective on Radio-Frequency Exposure Associated with Residential Automatic Meter Reading Technology

• Electric Power Research Institute, Radio-Frequency Exposure Levels from Smart Meters: A Case Study of One Model

• Utilities Telecom Council, No Health Threat from Smart Meters

• Edison Electric Institute, Smart Meters and Your Health

• American Cancer Society, About Smart Meters

• National Energy Technology Laboratory, Advanced Metering Infrastructure

• SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative, Radio Frequency Fact Sheet

• SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative, Myths vs. Facts: The Truth about Smart Meters Fact Sheet

• California Council on Science & Technology, Health Impacts of RF Exposure from Smart Meters

• FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, Radio Frequency Safety Frequently Asked Questions

AMI Data Privacy

No customer-identifying information is transmitted or stored by the AMI system. Like analog and basic digital meters, AMI meters collect information about electricity delivered to the meter. Unlike older meters, an AMI meter will notify IREA if power is not being delivered to the meter and collects data on the level of power demand at the meter and the voltage of power delivered to the meter.

AMI meters do not, however, tell IREA how you use that power. Our data collection stops at the meter. We will not know if you burn toast, what you watch on TV or which websites you visit on your computer. Energy use on your side of the meter is your business, not IREA’s. We simply deliver electricity to your meter.  An AMI meter is owned by IREA as part of our distribution system; its sole purpose is to allow us to monitor the energy delivered by that system so we can know how much to bill and understand the performance of the system.  The information we will obtain from an AMI meter will not be used or useful for any other purpose.

Protecting customer privacy is a priority for IREA.  We do not and will not sell or share customer information with third parties for commercial purposes, nor do we release customer information to government agencies without a subpoena, warrant or other valid legal process. This will not change with the use of AMI technology.

• SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative, Data Privacy and Smart Meters

AMI Data Security

AMI data is encrypted and protected by multiple layers of security to guard against unauthorized actions, breaches and tampering. No personal customer information – names, addresses or account numbers, for example – is transmitted or stored by the AMI system. The AMI only records and transmits data regarding the quantity and quality of the energy delivered to the meter, and diagnostic information regarding the performance of the meter itself.

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