As Australian Associate Professor of neurosurgery Vini G. Khurana reports, experience around the world indicates these meters benefit utilities financially but there does not appear to be any real benefit to consumers nor the environment. Many consumers have complained about ''a substantial rise in household utility bills, adverse neurological effects in people who sustain close proximity to the meters (especially < 10 feet/3 metres), invaded personal privacy via third parties obtaining information about household occupancy patterns gleaned from time-specific utility usage data and impending additional wireless meter installations for gas, water, television and communication devices etc.''
A wireless smart meter produces radiofrequency microwave radiation with two antennas in approximately the same frequency range (900 MHz to 2.4 GHz) as a typical cell tower. With a cell phone, people are exposed to microwaves primarily in the head and neck (unless using speaker mode), and only when they use their device. With smart meters, the entire body is immersed by microwaves that go out in all directions, which increases the risk of overexposure to many sensitive organs such as the eyes and testicles. RF emissions from cell towers and WiMAX are in the form of beams in one or more specific directions. Their intensity is reduced greatly if your home is located far away and at lower elevation than the antennas mounted on the tower. Intensity of near-field exposures very close to RF sources such as cell phones and smart meters are more unpredictable because the wavelengths are unstable.
Wireless smart meters typically produce atypical, relatively potent and very short pulsed RF/microwaves whose biological effects have never been fully tested. They emit these millisecond-long RF bursts on average 9,600 times a day with a maximum of 190,000 daily transmissions and a peak level emission two and a half times higher than the stated safety signal, as the California utility Pacific Gas & Electric recognized before that State’s Public Utilities Commission. Thus people in proximity to a smart meter are at risk of significantly greater aggregate of RF/microwave exposure than with a cell phone, not to mention the cumulative exposure received by people living near multiple meters mounted together, pole-mounted routers or utility collector meters using a third antenna to relay RF signals from 500 to 5,000 homes.
A very solid technical study by Sage Associates indicates that RF levels from various scenarios depicting normal installation and operation may violate out-of-date US public safety standards which only consider acute thermal effects. This can happen when a person stands six inches away from the meter to read the power consumption.