During a trip to New Zealand in November 2013 for a series of public presentations on issues raised by the introduction of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (Smart Meters) I was given two pieces of literature on smart meters in New Zealand.
The first was copy of a statement titled “Smart Meters” issued by the Ministry of Health NZ in 2013. This statement claimed, among other things, that smart meter emissions are low, when compared to the New Zealand radiofrequency standard (NZS 2772.1:1999) and that smart meters ”only transmit periodically, using very brief signals.” This second claim is patently incorrect and is of concern that the Ministry of Health could get this fact so wrong as even a brief look at the available information on how smart meters work clearly shows that they do emit “very brief signals” but that they are emitted constantly throughout a 24 hour cycle. This will be discussed later in this paper.
The second was a widely circulated report: Health and Safety Aspects of Electricity Smart Meters produced by New Zealand’s Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPEC) at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch in 2012. This report is now being circulated in New Zealand as evidence of the safety of smart meter technology. As the EPEC report claims to be addressing the health aspects of smart meter deployment in relation to the official radiofrequency exposure standard I address the following points:
1. The underlying assumption of smart meter safety based on emissions being well under the safety limits of the New Zealand RF standard NZ2772: Part1: 1999 – Maximum Exposure Levels – 3kHz to 300 GHz.
2. The downplaying of electromagnetic hyper-sensitivity (EHS) based primarily on the research of James Rubin.
3. The problem of averaging smart meter emissions over time (6 minutes) especially because of their unique characteristics.
4. Research recommendations to determine the extent of a possible public health risk from smart meters emissions.