Radio Frequency FAQs 
 
 
We support research to determine the impact of radio frequency. Although studies have not determined a link between exposure to these fields and any illness or disease, we are carefully monitoring studies related to radio frequency and automated meters.

Learn more about radio frequency by browsing the frequently asked questions below.

    Radio waves and microwaves emitted by transmitting antennas are one form of electromagnetic energy. They are collectively referred to as “radio frequency” or “RF” energy. Radio frequency is used in many products that most people use in their daily lives, such as cellphones, wireless laptops, radios, televisions, pagers, cordless telephones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, garage-door openers and walkie-talkies.
     
    The federal government, particularly the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has exclusive jurisdiction over radio frequency.
     
    Consider that meters equipped with wireless devices typically transmit only about 45 seconds a day. You’d have to have one of these meters on your home or business for more than 1,000 years to get as much to radio waves as a typical cell phone user gets in just one month.
     
    Based on years of studying whether radio waves affect human health, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits for radio transmitters of all types. These limits include a prudent margin of safety just in case some health effects are too subtle to have been detected. Even so, automated and smart meters equipped with wireless devices operate far below the limit - typically emitting radio frequencies at about one seventieth of the limit.
     
    Most Ameren meters are automated. They are equipped with a one-way radio that transmits data from the meter to a network of collection devices.
     
    The definition of a smart meter may be different depending on the source. Smart meters typically are now equipped with two-way wireless devices and are equipped with a second radio that communicates with monitoring and/or control devices in the home. Smart meters may have other features not present in one-way automated meters. At Ameren, we currently do not have meters installed with two-way wireless devices and other smart meter features.
     
    No. These meters communicate intermittently, with each radio frequency emission signal typically lasting from 2 to 20 milliseconds. These intermittent signals total, on average, 45 seconds per day. For the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day, the meter is not transmitting.
     
    The radios in meters equipped with these devices transmit relatively weak radio signals, resembling those of many other products most people use every day, like cell phones, baby monitors and microwave ovens. A major radio station, by contrast, usually transmits with 50,000 times as much power.
     
    Some utilities have installed smart meters to provide more detailed and timely energy usage and price information directly to customers to help them reduce their bills by using less energy at times of peak-demand. Smart meters often can transmit real-time information about pricing at certain periods of the day to incent a customer to save money by using energy at certain times of the day when demand is low.
     
    Ameren began installing automated meters in the 1990s. We now have more than two million automated meters at customer locations across 64,000 square miles. These meters allow us to gather readings even in inclement weather or when access due to locked gates interferes with gathering readings manually. These meters allow us to quickly determine how much energy customers are using in certain locations to help us better maintain our delivery system, and they help us bill customers accurately and avoid estimated bills. Since Ameren began installing automated meters in the 1990s, there have been no health-related issues.
     
    Automated meters transfer data wirelessly with a radio-frequency transmission to a nearby neighborhood of data collectors, typically mounted on poles. The network relays information over wide area networks - like the technology of an aircard used for wireless Internet service from laptop computers.
     
    A few new reports have recently been issued in the United States on the subject of radio frequency emissions exposure from Smart Meters and potential health effects. The reports, written independently of each other, but released within a three-month span, come from a state government body, a state government advisory committee and an energy research institute. <br><br> All of the reports indicate that there is no evidence that additional standards are needed to protect the public from smart meters.<br><br>
     
Ameren, environment, electromagnetic fields, EMF, radio frequency exposure, smart meters
 
 
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