City of Ashland, Oregon / Electric / Radio Frequency Meter FAQ

Radio Frequency Meter FAQ
radio frequency meter
radio frequency meter
Automated Electronic Meters (Radio Frequency Meters)
 

Electric meters are used to measure the amount of electric energy consumed by a residence or business.  In order for electric utilities to bill the residence or business for the energy consumed, an employee must read each individual meter and record the amount of energy used each month.
 
Since the late 1990’s, the City of Ashland Electric Utility Department has been gradually replacing the old style Mechanical Electric Meters to Automated Electronic Meters for two reasons:

       Due to changes in the electric industry it is no longer possible to purchase the mechanical meters
     
      The newer meters send the electric consumption information automatically rather than requiring an
      employee to access, read and record the electric usage at each individual meter.
 
Progress in this transition has been discussed in open meetings with Council and the Budget Committee on multiple occasions in reference to managing the electric utility and cost savings approaches.   
Q. Why is the City purchasing Automated Electronic Meters?

A.  Due to changes in industry standards and for cost savings and efficiency reasons, the City is
     gradually replacing older electric meters with Automated Electronic Meters.
 
      Automated Electronic Meters send the energy consumption information via radio transmitter to city
      meter readers.  This reduces the number of meters the meter reader must access, read and record,
      thus saving time and money.
 
Q.  How many of these meters are in use today?

A.  Currently, there are 11,591 electric meters in the City of Ashland.  To date, approximately 5,017 of
     those meters are Automated Electronic Meters.  The radio signal is sent to and collected by the
     meter reader at the curb.
 
Q.  What are the Automated Electronic Meters the City is purchasing?

A.  The Automated Electronic Meters are also referred to as a radio frequency meter.  There are many 
      types of smart meters.  The ones used by the City of Ashland are not smart meters but simply
      only transmit limited information (meter ID number, electric consumption, and indication of
      tampering) on a regular basis.
 
Q.  Why are some citizens concerned about these Meters?

A.  Some citizens are concerned about the City’s installations of these meters because of perceived
     health issues regarding the regular, automated radio transmissions from the meters.  Some citizens
     have concerns about the potential impact of prolonged exposure, proximity, and spikes in
      transmission of radio frequency signals.
 
Q.  Is there a significant risk posed by Radio Frequency Meters?

A.  The calculated levels of radio frequency transmissions are well below the limits stablished for these
     devices by the Federal Communications Commission.  Therefore, the City does not believe Radio
      Frequency meters pose a significant health concern.
 
Q.  What is the radio frequency exposure from the City’s RF Meters?
A.  Electric industry information indicates the radio frequency exposure is much  lower than other radio
     frequency sources already in your home (and likely closer to your person) such as a microwave
     oven, wireless computer or cell phone.
 
The meters used by Ashland comply with FCC standards.  The FCC limits on maximum permissible exposure for application to the general public were set using safety factors fifty times lower than the levels of known effects.
 
Q:  Why doesn’t the City just continue to buy the old style meters?

A.  Ashland has not found a supplier of the old style meters, both electro-mechanical (analog) or earlier
     style RF meters.  Sources indicate meters with older technologies are no longer being produced,
     having been replaced by the more accurate digital meters. 
 
Q.  Can citizens opt out of having these types of meters at their residence?

A.  Yes,  the City has developed an opt-out program with no additional costs. If interested, please fill
      out the Opt Out Form. After completed, you may return the form via fax, email, direct mail, or drop
      the form off at any city office and they will forward the form to the Electric Department. 

      A Resolution Adopting An Opt Out Policy For The Automated Meter Reading Program was adopted
      by  The Council on May 15, 2012.   Resolution No 2012-14 
 
Q.  If I have questions whom should I call?

A.   You should call the City’s Electric Department at 541-488-5357.
 

Additional Meter Information and Websites
 
The City of Ashland currently  purchases their radio frequency meters from Itron and the model we have been using is their Centron C1SR.  The link to the manufactures specification page is https://www.itron.com/na/PublishedContent/CENTRON%20C1SR%20R300%20Meter.pdf.
 
Itron has information regarding radio frequency at their website: https://www.itron.com/na/resourcesAndSupport/Pages/RF-Resource-Center.aspx.   The “FAQ” and “radio frequency resources”  links on this page also provide additional information on this topic.   The “radio frequency resources” link provides links to industry studies and regulatory reports regarding these meters.

 
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