Privacy and Health Concerns
Member’s kWh usage data will be collected and sent in small packets back to the Cooperative and stored within billing records. This encrypted information will be sent in many very small information packets throughout the day. It’s extremely unlikely, but not impossible, that someone could access that information, but it will only include metering data that is meaningful to the Cooperative. It will not include member’s personal data such as address, social security number, banking data, or any other identifying information.
As some detractors claim, there will be no way for the Cooperative or anyone to “see” or “hear” inside your home or business or to “detect” the types of appliances or equipment being used. All equipment will be mounted outside at the point of service and will not include cameras or any other devices to collect private data.
Research conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Electric Power Research Institute, the Utilities Telecom Council, and others, has found no negative health impacts from digital meters that send information via a wireless communications network. The radio frequencies (RF) emitted by digital meters fall well below the maximum recommended in federal guidelines.
People are continuously exposed to very low levels of natural and man-made radio frequency fields, or RF. Even the earth’s surface and the human body are constant sources of RF fields. Digital meters send information about home electricity use by RF signals. Gridstream meters will emit RF similar to that of many common household devices such as baby monitors, cordless phones and remote-controlled toys and medical monitors. And in fact, cell phones and cordless phones emit much greater RF and people hold them up to their heads.
The exposure from your new meter is much lower than other common sources for two reasons: infrequent signal transmission and distance. On a daily basis, the Gridstram meters emit less than five minutes per day. In addition, these meters are outside a wall separating the meter from the living space. This combination of placement and infrequent operation means that you would need to be within one foot of 7,000 Gridstream meters all communicating at the same time to reach the FCC exposure limit.
SPEC is a not‐for‐profit, private business that is solely owned and operated by the members who receive our electric service. When our board of directors approves a policy or procedure for the use of new equipment and technologies, they do so knowing that it will also apply to their own homes and their own families. In using this type of metering system, we have not only deemed it to be a wise and safe choice for all Co‐op members and their families, but our own families as well.