After careful review of the available literature and studies, the Staff of the Michigan Public Service Commission believes that the health risk from the installation and operation of metering systems using radio transmitters is insignificant and the appropriate federal health and safety regulations provide assurance that smart meters represent a safe technology. The report discusses the fact that there are multiple sources of RF exposure in our everyday environment, including cellular phones, wireless devices – such as laptops and routers – microwave ovens, baby monitors, garage door openers, walkie talkies, computer monitors, fluorescent lighting, and electrical wires within the home, and that smart meters are a small contributor to the total environmental RF emissions to which the general public is exposed. Eliminating smart meters would result in a minimal reduction of total emissions.

The Staff also recommends regulators include the following fundamental concepts when addressing a smart grid privacy policy:

  • Definitions of various types of data collected (usage/billing, aggregate, customer identifiable)
  • Permitted usage of data types by utility (sales, contractor work, emergency)
  • Customer consent and third-party disclosure rules (notice, time frame, records)
  • Availability of usage information to customer (web portal, direct mail, email)
  • Privacy breach requirements (notification to customer/commission)

The report addresses additional safety concerns unrelated to RF emissions such as overheating of meters and cyber security. With links to excellent resources, it is a must read for utilities and regulators.