About 1 million water meters are due to be installed by Irish Water outside homes in Ireland by 2016 . The only homes that will remain unmetered will be about 300,000 apartments and other properties where it is technically difficult to install meters.
Read more here about how much you might have to pay for water
Concerns have been raised by some people about the safety of these meters – mainly because they are classing them as “smart meters” .
A smart meter is basically a meter that can record data about the product (electricity, water, etc.) consumed over time. They differ from traditional meters in that they are electronic and can be read remotely and sometimes can communicate to a central computer system.
There have been concerns raised about “smart” meters in general – mainly because they can transmit the same kinds of radiofrequency (RF) waves as mobile phones and Wi-Fi devices.
These are the meters that Irish Water are installing . Itron Aquadis +
From pictures/videos seen at installations we can see they are also fitted with a component called the Everblu Cyble Enhanced . (No wonder people think they are dangerous – it sounds like something out of Star Wars!).
This add-on is the bit that allows the meters to be read at a distance by a handheld/mobile reader. It is still possible to see the standard numbers on the meter if customers or staff need to read it manually. The Everblu unit is battery powered and stores water usage information that can then be transmitted to the meter reader on request. The automatic meter reader sends a signal to the meter as it passes by to request a meter read – and the meter’s everblu unit responds and sends the data via radio signal . The documentation for the meters used by IrishWater states that they transmit at 433 MHz.
This is the same radio band used by amateur radio users , UHF radio and also by other devices such as some baby monitors , automatic gates, and traffic lights.
Smart Meters have been used in the US for a while – but according to the
American Cancer Society they are not a danger to health …
“Smart meters emit RF waves, which are a type of electromagnetic radiation, so there is the potential for them to cause harm. The actual risk of harm, if it exists, is likely to be extremely low, for a number of reasons.
The RF waves that smart meters give off are a form of electromagnetic energy that falls between FM radio waves and microwaves. Like FM radio waves, microwaves, visible light, and heat, RF waves are a form of non-ionizing radiation. They don’t have enough energy to cause cancer by directly damaging the DNA inside cells. RF waves are different from stronger (ionizing) types of radiation such as x-rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet (UV) light, which can break the chemical bonds in DNA. Long-term exposure to ionizing radiation is a known cause of cancer.
At very high levels, RF waves can heat up body tissues. But the levels of energy given off by smart meters are much lower, and are not enough to raise temperatures in the body.
The low levels of energy that smart meters give off at their source are further diluted by the distance they typically need to travel to reach people (unlike cell phones, for instance)”
The smart meters that appear to be causing the most concern in the US are those that transmit several times a day and are installed inside houses – sometimes 2 or 3 feet from people’s beds.
The Irish Water Meters appear to be set up to transmit only on request – or at most once a day and they are situated several feet away from houses.
Anyone worried about the danger of radio frequency waves (RF) from water meters should probably be more worried about their mobile phone which is within inches of their head every time they make a call.
Some of the alternative information about the dangers of smart meters here :