This post is adapted from research and emails from Ithaca resident Jerone Gagliano, who has been investigating NYSEG’s installation, starting this week, of smart meters to monitor the electricity usage of about 12,400 households and natural gas usage of about 7,300 households in Tompkins County. If you have information, links, or research you think your neighbors could benefit from, share it on TruthSayers: email email@example.com or use the “Contact Us” form.
Gagliano had this to say about his research into the “smart meters,” which have two-way wireless communication capabilities, and are connected into a data center via routers installed on utility poles.
“My goal is to make sure people feel informed before they have a change to their home that they will have to live with for the rest of their time living in that home. I do not subscribe to the conspiracy that smart meters cause cancer. I take an engineering and precautionary stance. What are the long-term and commutative effects of radio frequency [RF] emissions from our cell phones, wi-fi routers, wi-fi laptop, cordless phones, smart meters, etc? The data are not available yet. What are the long-term effects of eating GMO [genetically-modified organism] vs non-GMO food? Organic vs non-organic? I think it is best to inform oneself, then decide what one can and cannot live with.”
NYSEG plans on installing smart meters in Ithaca, Dryden, Etna, Freeville, Groton, and Lansing in the next month. Here’s the NYSEG proposed schedule for installations.
Avangrid came to Gagliano’s house on First Street on July 12 to install the smart meters, which he chose to deny. It’s your right as a homeowner or tenant to opt out of the smart meters, according to this FAQ published by Cornell Cooperative Extension. NYSEG’s phone number to call to discuss opting out of smart meters is 800.925.1559.
Here’s Gagliano’s July 3rd email to the Northside United listserv, followed by an exchange that Gagliano had with Cornell Cooperative Extension EnergySmart program liaison Rosalyn Bandy. You can reach Bandy with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 607-220-3563.
- How often will usage data be transmitted?
The meters will transmit data when interrogated by the system, which will be configured to interrogate each meter four times per day.
- What transmission power level will the meters be set to?
Meters have an adaptive power level system which allows them to transmit only the required power to obtain enough link quality. In any case, the maximum power allowed is 29.88dBm.
- Did NYSEG consider a hard-wired communications option rather than wireless?
The topology of the distribution grid, in general, is not appropriate for wired communications. However, the meters we are deploying includes both an RF interface and a power line communications (PLC) module, which uses the power grid to transmit telecommunication signals. PLC is used when its link quality is appropriate.
- Will meters communicate directly with the transmitter pole?
Understanding that transmitter pole means “collector”, which are the devices gathering the information from the meters and sending it back to the system, some meters will connect directly with the collectors while others will use the help of other meters acting as relays to reach the collectors.
- Will most streets have a mesh network to get data to a transmitter pole?
The meters create a mesh network in order to help each other reach the collectors. The mesh network covers the grid upgrade area (see the grid upgrade map on the NYSEG Energy Smart Community website).
- Where are the transmitter poles located? One per major intersection?
There are seven collectors for the ESC footprint.
And here are Bandy’s answers to a second round of questions that Gagliano sent her:
1) Will Avangrid/NYSEG “interrogate” the meters more than four times per day in the future? It depends on the requirements from the regulator.
Not planned at this moment.
2) Will all meters be interrogated at the same time of day (eg 8am, 2pm, 8pm, 2am)?
This strategy is not yet defined.
3) Will the Itron meters be configured to use the PLC first and then use RF only if there is too much noise over the power lines?
No, first option is RF.
4) The Itron sheet stated that the duty cycles are higher for meters near the “network routers”. I assume that this is the same as the white box “Connected Grid Router” that you mentioned in your other email, correct?
Yes, the network router is called Connected Grid Router (CGR).
5) Just to make sure I understand this better, will there one white box collector (router) on each of the seven transmitter poles?
6) How tall will the transmitter poles be? Are they free-standing or will they be mounted on the top of an existing power pole?
The CGRs are mounted on existing power poles. The height is not the same for all of them. It depends on the pole and the other assets existing on it, if any. Typically, they will be between 25 and 40 feet.
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