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AMI Frequently Asked Questions

What is AMI?

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (or AMI) is at the heart of Smart Grid technology and allows utilities to communicate with customers’ meters to perform tasks such as taking readings, monitoring power quality and facilitating disconnections and reconnections.

 

What is a Smart Grid?

A Smart Grid is an electricity network (or "grid") that uses communications, advanced sensors, and computers to improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of the power network.

 

Why is Smart Grid important?

Smart Metering is important for many reasons – a key reason is that it allows the utility to better manage the integration of renewable energy on the electrical network.  Smart Grids can take a much larger proportion of renewable energy than conventional electrical grids.

 

Are Smart Meters used in Europe and the US?

Yes, deploying the Smart Grid became the policy of the United States with passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Title 13).  US utilities have been installing meters with radios for remote meter reading since the 1980’s. There are now over 50 million of these devices installed and operating in the United States.  The Smart Grid is also being promoted by the European Union and other nations and there are about 39 million Smart Meters installed in Europe.

 

Is Anguilla one of the first Caribbean islands to use Smart Meters?

No, Smart Meters are installed and working in several Caribbean islands including Barbados, St.Lucia, Dominica and Cayman Islands.  Several other islands (such as St.Kitts and Antigua) are currently deploying Smart Meter programs.

 

What impact can the Radio Frequency generated by Smart Meters have on my health?

Smart Meters fall into the same category as many wireless devices found in the home, such as wireless routers used for internet connectivity and wireless baby monitors. Unlike the laptops or WiFi routers in the home that are always transmitting, smart meters transmit for only a fraction of the day for short durations.  It is remarkable to know that if you stood 4 feet away from our Smart Meter (non-stop) for 3 years, your effective RF exposure from that meter would be less than your RF exposure from a 5 minute cell phone call! (Based on cell phone 50mW transmit power and FCC data for HTC Thunderbolt  smart phone).

 

Where can I get independent information on the health and safety issues of Smart Meters?

Industry research and standards agencies, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), have compiled the research associated with human exposure of RF energy and created guidelines that the FCC and the Federal Occupational

Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have adopted.  Some direct links to reports and resources are:

 

  1. Federal Communications Commission on RF Safety http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/
  2. FCC Questions & Answers on RF Safety http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html
  3. California Council on Science & Technology Report http://www.ccst.us/news/2011/20110111smart.php
  4. Maine Center for Disease Control, “Executive Summary of Review of Health Issues Related to Smart Meters” http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/smart-meters.shtml.
  5. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power. http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/assets/docs_p_z/results_of_emf_research_emf_questions_answers_booklet.pdf

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