Myth Vs Facts

Facts and Scientific Studies about Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) brings the electric meters of the Atlantic Municipal Utilities rural service area up-to-date, and gives AMU added tools to control electricity costs and improve service quality. While the benefits provided by the AMI system are many, it has come to our attention that there is some mis-information circulating about these meters, particularly in three areas: personal privacy, data privacy and safety. Because AMU is committed to basing its decisions on facts, we offer the following clarifying information about AMI.

Myth: AMU can use the AMI system to spy on you.

Fact: No. Both old (analog) and new (AMI) meters provide information about customers’ electricity usage to AMU for billing purposes. The AMI meters are more accurate, and send the information digitally, versus manually by a meter reader, saving AMU and the rate payers money. AMU adheres to Federal Trade Commission regulations about how we handle electricity use data and we are wise stewards of any information we receive. Specifically, we do not share any personal information with unauthorized users. Authorized use of the information is only by AMU for billing, electric system maintenance and system engineering.

Myth: The AMI meter can control appliances in our house.

Fact: No, the meters themselves cannot turn on or off any electronic appliance in your house.

Myth: The AMI meters are dangerous, due to radio frequency (RF) emissions.

Fact: No. In the scientific and research community, there is a broad consensus that the scientific studies to-date give no consistent or convincing evidence of a causal relationship between adverse health effects and RF exposure in the range of frequencies and power used by smart meters.

In relative terms, the effective RF exposure from AMU’s meter is dramatically less than that of a cellular or cordless telephone. For most customers, the RF exposure from an AMI meter would be equivalent to using a cellular phone or cordless phone for less than 2 seconds per day when measured at 8 inches away from the meter’s transmitter.

AMU’s meters meet all Federal Communications Commission (FCC) testing and certification standards, and will not interfere with the operation of existing electronics or medical devices. For a more comprehensive look regarding the effects of RF exposure for the meters being utilized by AMU, please refer to the following study by the California Council on Science and Technology(PDF 5MB).

The bottom line: We’re excited about the benefits that the AMI system will bring to our community in terms of providing customers additional tools to control their energy use and for Atlantic Municipal Utilities to better manage costs. If you have additional concerns or questions about this program please contact AMU at (712) 243-1395.