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Radio Transmitter Project (Smart Meters)
November 22, 2019
How Does it Work?
The Authority has been and continues to install radio read transmitters so staff will be able to read meters without having to go house to house. They can now drive by the property with a laptop loaded with the meter reading program. Readings from all accounts that have transmitter identities loaded in the computer will populate in the program. Those readings will then be loaded into the billing program at the office and bills will then be produced.
Another benefit to switching to the radio transmitters is that the Authority will be able to monitor the water being used down to the gallon, so if a customer has a leak, the Authority will be able to pinpoint when it occurred and when the water use started to increase.
The Authority is installing these radio transmitters (smart meter) in one of two ways, either on the meter itself or on the outside of homes. The Authority currently has two types of meters in the service area. Each meter type requires a different radio transmitter. To help minimize costs, the Authority is purchasing the transmitter at a cost of $100 per unit, instead of replacing the entire meter at a cost of $250 per unit.
Approximately two-third of the meters in service are Neptune meters. The radio transmitters for these meters are built into the register head, which means:
- the touch pad on the outside of the home (which is currently how the Authority reads the meter) will be removed and
- the Authority will need access to the meter inside the home to change the register top and install a new radio transmitter register.
The other one third of the meters in service are Sensus meters. The radio transmitters for these meters are external transmitters. These transmitters are four-inch by four-inch fluorescent blue boxes that will replace the touchpad currently attached to the outside of the building.
The M2w and innov8-R have passed FCC radio emission testing. This testing includes both intentional emissions (i.e. our packet transmission) and unintentional emissions. The FCC guidelines are in place to ensure that commercial radio products operate within safe and controlled parameters. Neither the water meter or the radio read transmitter attached to the water meter are connected to any electrical system, so they are not affected by any electrical circuitry. The unit is powered by a battery, which is warranted by the manufacturer to last 20 years.
Each radio was given an FCC identifier which can be referenced online at www.fcc.gov
M2w: RXN610M2SSL (Blue box transmitters installed on the outside of a residence and used on Sensus meters)
Innov8: RXN10RR1 (register top transmitters that are used onNeptuneand Metron meters)
These identifiers are on the FCC label on every unit.
The FCC test results are published on the FCC website, however, they are very technical.
In general, we "intentionally" transmit our signal once every ~5 seconds.
The transmission duration is only about 3 milliseconds (0.003 seconds). The output power of the device is about 30 milliwatts (0.030 watts). Plus, since the radio is not constantly in close proximity to a person, the radiated energy is virtually negligible.
Another way to put it is that our radio is a small fraction of the energy put out by a cell phone or computer.
How is it Regulated?
This type of radio transmitter operates within the "900" MHz unlicensed radio frequency spectrum and is governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). To find out more about the FCC and radio frequency safety, see the "What Science Says" section below.
All of the facts known about this type of water meter indicate that it is a well-governed technology, available for decades.
New Technology Brings the Uncertainty of Change
Even though this technology has been available for decades, for our customers, this is a new technology. Change can often be met with fear and uncertainty. There are dozens of websites devoted to presenting a host of hearsay and anecdotal information and select portions of factual reports regarding radio read meters. It is important for each person to evaluate and determine the legitimacy of such messages on his/her own.
What Science Says
Perkasie Regional Authority understands that, according to the Federal Communications Commission and the World Health Organization, radio frequncy signals produced by radio read meters and other such wireless networks have shown no occurences of adverse long or short term health effects. If you have any health concerns regarding the radio transmitters, please see the links below or the PDF document entitled "Health Concerns" below.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Radio Frequency Safety FAQ
Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields
World Health Organization (WHO)
Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health-Base Stations/Wireless Technology
Please keep in mind these transmitters are vital to ensure proper tracking and billing of water being used. Any tampering, removing, or destroying these transmitters will result in a $100 charge.
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding these transmitters, please contact the office.
Perkasie Regional Authority Launches a New Website! Let Us Know What You Think!
October 10, 2019
Working harder to better serve and communicate with our community we have launched a new website for our water customers. Check it out and let us know what you think. Subscribe today!
Hidden Meadows Single Family Home Development
April 21, 2020
A new single family home development has begun construction in the vicinity of North Main Street and East Callowhill Street. CalAtlantic Group Inc. is the developer of the 48 home subdivision. Site preparations are in progress for the first 26 homes in Phase 1. Water and Sewer for this development will be served by the Authority.