Radio Frequency

The wireless transmitters used for Agua Vista use radio frequencies (RF) to transmit data . RF exposure from advanced meters has been studied and found to be much less than RF exposure from cellular telephones, baby monitors, cordless telephones, and microwave ovens.

Comparison of Typical Radio Frequency Exposures

Relative Power Density Range in microwatts per square centimeter (µW/cm2)

Cell Phone (at ear) - 1,000 to 5,000

Microwave Oven (1 foot away) - 200 to 800

Advanced ("Smart) Meter (3 feet away on 50% of the time) - 20 to 20

*Source: California Council on Science and Technology (2011)

Key Points

1. RF transmissions decrease as the distance from the device increases. The RF exposure from a meter drops by a factor of 100 when you move from a distance of 1 foot to 10 feet away. OWASA meters are typically located outside the home on the curb (about 30 feet from a home).

2. Radio devices transmit RFs when they are in use, and an advanced meter is in use only a fraction of the time compared to other household devices. OWASA’s AMI system will transmit data once a day for a fraction of a second, while a typical cell phone or laptop may be used almost continuously throughout the day.

The communication network used for OWASA’s Agua Vista metering system is fully compliant with FCC guidelines governing RF transmissions. 

The following resources provide more information: