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Delivering Solutions for Connecting Critical Infrastructure

About Silver Spring Networks

Silver Spring Networks is a leading networking platform and solutions provider for smart energy networks. Silver Spring’s pioneering IPv6 networking platform, with over 23.6 million Silver Spring enabled devices delivered, is connecting utilities to homes and businesses throughout the world with the goal of achieving greater energy efficiency for the planet. Silver Spring’s innovative solutions enable utilities to gain operational efficiencies, improve grid reliability, and empower consumers to monitor and manage energy consumption. Silver Spring Networks’ customers include major utilities around the globe such as Baltimore Gas & Electric, CitiPower & Powercor, Commonwealth Edison, Consolidated Edison, CPS Energy, Florida Power & Light, Jemena Electricity Networks Limited, Pacific Gas & Electric, Pepco Holdings, Progress Energy, and Singapore Power, among others.

 

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Understanding Radio Frequency

We understand that our customers want to be well informed about new technologies, how the smart grid works and how it will change their relationship with the energy they use. Smart meters are one of the most visible components of the smart grid. They are digital meters that contain the ability to communicate with the utility via a two-way network. Smart meters transmit for only a fraction of the day for short durations and actual radio frequency (RF) emissions are actually less than commonly used devices, such as cell phones, baby monitors and microwave ovens.

Silver Spring-enabled smart grid devices not only meet the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules, but in actual usage, transmit significantly less frequently.

Comparison of RF Power Density in the Everyday Environment

Source RF Output Compared to Standing Two Feet From a Smart Meter
Standing in front of an active microwave oven, two feet from the door 550 times more
Holding a walkie-talkie to your head 55 – 4,600 times more
Holding an active cell phone to your head 3.3 – 1,100 times more
Using a laptop computer 1.1 – 2.2 times more
Sitting in a Wi-Fi cyber café 1.1 – 2.2 times more

Source: Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters by California Council on Science and Technology, April 2011

Silver Spring Networks continually monitors regulatory and scientific developments related to human exposure to RF emissions. Silver Spring Networks relies on expert scientific conclusions related to RF exposures and potential health effects. According to the FCC, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), no adverse short or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the radio frequency signals produced by smart meters or other such wireless networks.

In January 2014, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) published a technical report on RF EMF measurements, Smart Meter Pulse “Highly Unlikely” to Cause Effects.

Smart Meter Devices and the FCC Limits

Based on years of studying whether radio waves cause health effects, the FCC has adopted Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits for radio transmitters of all types, including smart meters. It includes a prudent margin of safety just in case some health effects are too subtle to have been detected. Even so, smart meters operate far below the limit—typically only about one-seventieth as much.

Exposure is based on the transmitter’s power and your distance from the source. In general, doubling your distance cuts the “power density” by a factor of four. That’s a major reason why radio waves from a smart meter, at a distance of 10 feet, are only about one one-thousandth as much as a typical cell phone. That’s also why powerful but distant radio and TV transmitters are not seen as posing any danger.

 


Exposure of individuals in their smart-meter equipped homes is commonly orders of magnitude less than that which would occur for an individual standing immediately adjacent to and in front of the meter. In measurements performed in six California residences, 99% of the measured peak values were less than 0.8% of the MPE with 90% of the measured values being less than 0.1% of the exposure limit.

Electric Power Research Institute, December 9, 2011


 

Silver Spring Networks’ Role

Smart meters are a part of the energy information network that connects all devices that generate, distribute, consume and monitor energy.

We are working to bridge the gap between utilities and customers. We believe that consumers should be able to manage their own energy usage. We also believe in reducing the world’s carbon footprint by controlling the amount and the sources of the energy we all use.

Silver Spring Networks is a leading networking platform and solutions that enable utilities to transform the power grid infrastructure into the smart grid, helping utilities to achieve operational efficiencies, reduce carbon emissions and empower their customers with new ways to monitor and manage their energy consumption.

As part of our commitment to deliver the benefits of the smart grid to the world, we are also realizing additional benefits that include:

  • Modernization of our aging electric grid infrastructure: The electrical power industry faces many business challenges surrounding increased demands on an aging infrastructure. The smart grid will increase visibility for utilities into general status of the grid in real time, enabling increased reliability.
  • Saving money and energy: The smart grid will empower consumers to monitor energy usage, conserve energy, save money, and reduce energy costs for the country.  It is far less expensive to conserve energy than to generate it.
  • Safety and security: The smart grid will improve national and economic security by reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. 
  • Helping the environment: The smart grid will reduce GHG emissions and will enable the use of renewable energy and increase the viability of electric vehicles.
  • Economic and job growth: The smart grid creates jobs; it’s essential to upgrade the century-old grid to fuel economic growth.

 


Additional Resources

Smart Grid Consumer Collateral

British Medical Journal

California Council on Science and Technology

Central Maine Power Smart Meter Network

Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition

Electric Power Research Institute

EMC Technologies Prepared for Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia

Federal Communications Commission

Hawaii Natural Energy Institute

Public Utility Commission of Texas

Silver Spring Networks

Utilities Telecom Council

World Health Organization