What Kind of Meters Does PSREC Use?

PSREC uses radio meters for most of its members. We are changing out all remaining analog meters, unless they are too far from pavement for our meter readers to receive the signal from a radio meter. We are doing this to keep our costs as low as possible through reduced labor and more accurate meter readings.

Our radio meters are standard radio technology. They are similar to a cell phone but put out even lower amounts of radio frequency energy (RF).

Sources of RF in everyday life are varied and include TV and radio stations, with common sources in Plumas, Sierra, Lassen, and Washoe Counties being broadcast towers for Verizon 4G, Verizon 3G, AT&T 3G, and T-Mobile 3G, along with US Cellular and other secondary wireless providers and other broadcasters. These are all powerful RF sources. Still significant are cellphones, wireless routers, and laptops. PSREC’s radio meters are a very weak source of RF exposure.

There are no scientific studies showing that RF affects the human body at the levels approved by the FCC, and PSREC’s radio meters emit much lower levels of RF than approved FCC limits.

Does PSREC Have “Smart Meters”?

No. Smart meters are defined by the industry as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) devices that not only measure how much electricity is used, but also at what times during the day. Smart meters are also designed to transmit pricing and energy information from the utility company to the consumer (two-way communication).

PSREC’s meters are Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) meters. AMR meters only collect electrical energy consumption and transfer that data from the electric meter to the utility (one-way communication) once a month when PSREC’s meter readers drive by.

What if I Don’t Want a Radio Meter?

For years, PSREC has been systematically eliminating self-read meters to save money. Our project is now close to completion. But, if you want an analog meter, PSREC can accommodate you. PSREC’s AMR Opt-Out Policy (PDF) is very simple. PSREC charges a meter change out fee based on the actual cost to change your meter from radio to analog. The change out fee includes costs for travel, labor, and the actual cost of the analog meter.

This fee must be paid up-front at the time of submitting the opt-out form. Once the form and fee payment are received, PSREC will schedule the meter change out and you will see a monthly manual read fee of $15 on your bill. The monthly manual read fee will be adjusted on an annual basis based on PSREC’s costs for the average of all opt-out customers. If you have an analog meter and want to keep it, there is no change out fee, but you must fill out the paperwork and pay the monthly manual read fee.

Where Can I Get More Information?

When it comes to RF and allowed limits, the SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative has educational information on the radio exposure of smart meters, as does the FCC.

You can download information on Myths vs. Facts (PDF) and Radio Frequency and Smart Meters (PDF) from the SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative.