Pepco informed the D.C. Office of People's Counsel (OPC) that smart meters relay thousands of brief communications in conjunction with their scheduled and unscheduled daily transmittals. This information is in an April 9 letter from Pepco to the OPC's D.C. office, a letter which the Maryland OPC emailed to Patch Tuesday.
As Pepco continues its work of replacing traditional meters with new smart meters in Maryland, debate and speculation has arisen over how much radiation the meters emit. Some customers are up in arms, .
But Pepco states on its website that the smart meters use the same frequency ranges as cellular or cordless phones, but at much lower power. In addition it states an individual meter is idle 99 percent of the time.
The Maryland Public Service Commission is holding a public hearing, that began at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, which will address the possibility of an opt-out provision for customers who don't want smart meters.
The number of transmissions has long been a point of contention for concerned customers. But when referring to the thousands of communications in its OPC letter, PEPCO qualified that this amounts to 60-seconds in a 24-hour period.
As for the thousands of communications that Pepco says occur, it appears they do not occur throughout the day. Instead they typically happen during six daily scheduled communications with Pepco.
In the letter Pepco tells OPC:
"Pepco has six (6) scheduled daily communications with smart meters to retrieve electric usage information plus up to 3 additional scheduled communications for obtaining operational data. This is consistent with the DOE guidelines for smart grid and for near real time customer information. The typical cumulative communication period is comprised of thousands of very brief communications in conjunction with the scheduled and unscheduled daily transmittals, comprising of 60 seconds per 24-hour period."