Research and Additional Links

What does the community think about smart meters? See our Focus Group results.


Local Articles on Tompkins County's Energy Smart Community

On NYSEG's plans to roll-out smart meters beyond the Energy Smart Community

New York State's Reforming the Energy Vision

New York State's “Reforming the Energy Vision”, of which Energy Smart Tompkins is a part:

Recording of presentations at a major conference on Reforming the Energy Vision:

Smart Grid

The Smart Grid Consortium -The Smart Grid Consortium is a unique public-private partnership made up of major utilities, technology developers, academic and research institutions, and government and quasi-government entities. This website has various resources on a variety of topics.

Grid Flexibility: Methods for Modernizing the Power Grid -This paper touches on the growing importance of grid flexibility, reviews the types of resources that can deliver it, describes case studies of how the United States has attempted to foster it, and concludes with options for how to incorporate and enhance grid flexibility.

EPRI Executive Summary of DER integration

EPRI's report outlines the accommodations and upgrades electric power utilities need to make in order to effectively integrate various forms of renewable energy onto the power grid as well as the growing array of alternative energy options available to customers.  

Peak Demand

U.S. Department of Energy report on the ability of Time-Varying-Rates to reduce peak demand.

European Studies

An independent research study from Europe which collected and compared a large number of pilots to demonstrate repeated and consistent results and give answers to a wide variety of concerns:

Health Impacts

On June 20, 2017, WRFI's Eco-Defense Radio interviewed Dr. David O. Carpenter, Director, Institute for Health and the Environment at State University of New York at Albany. The show will be archived and available at Dr. Carpenter believes there are significant health impacts from smart meters, has testified in court on a few cases in various states, and was an editor of a 2012 report entitled, The Bioinitiatives Report - A Rationale for Biologically based Exposure Standards for Low-Intensity Electromagnetic Radiation . The FCC responded to the report in this letter to the other editor, Cindy Sage. Science Based Medicine wrote an extensive review of the Bioinitiatives Report and said about the report, " extrapolates from unconfirmed (or unconfirmable) laboratory studies to make dire predictions of health significance of RF exposures to humans. In effect it assumes that the results are generalizable from laboratory studies in cells or animals to human health. At the same time it dismisses the reluctance of health agencies to consider reports of biological effects that cannot be independently confirmed, which is to say that they cannot even predict results in similar laboratory experiments by other scientists."


The smart meters that are being installed in Tompkins County will send information about your electricity usage via pulsed radio frequency (RF) to your utility company 4 times per day. Most meters are installed on the outside of buildings but some are in basements or other inside areas. The new smart meters will simply replace your old meters.

Existing research on the health effects of RF emissions from electrical equipment focuses primarily on household appliances and devices such as cell phones. The most comprehensive study, to date, on the topic of the health effects of smart meters RF emissions was published in 2011. This study was produced by the California Council on Science and Technology following the installation of millions of smart meters in California. It was compiled by over two dozen research academics and other experts who had sifted through hundreds of articles and other research documents. Input was also received by expert professionals in biology, epidemiology, oncology, physical sciences, and bioengineering. They produced four key findings as follows:

Key Findings

1)Wireless smart meters, when installed and properly maintained, result in much smaller levels of radio frequency (RF) exposure than many existing common household electronic devices, particularly cell phones and microwave ovens.

2)The current FCC standard provides an adequate factor of safety against known thermally induced health impacts of existing common household electronic devices and smart meters. Thermal impacts are those where human tissue is heated by RF emissions.

3)To date, scientific studies have not identified or confirmed negative health effects from potential non-thermal impacts of RF emissions such as those produced by existing common household electronic devices and smart meters. (Non-thermal impacts are those impacts that arise from prolonged exposure to low-level RF emissions.)

4)Not enough is currently known about potential non-thermal impacts of radio frequency emissions to identify or recommend additional standards for such impacts.

Full report.


On May 27th, 2016, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, released a report with partial results of their large study on the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation (RFR, also known as microwave radiation) in male and female rats and mice.

The world’s largest, most well-designed study of its type, at a cost of $25 million, found increased occurrence of rare brain tumors called gliomas in male rats and increases in nerve tumors called Schwannoma of the heart, thymus and mediastinum in both male and female rats exposed to RFR. The released results are “partial” because more rat results and all of the mouse study results will be forthcoming, by 2017.

You can find a powerpoint presentation on the findings here:

And responses to the findings by the American Cancer Society

and the American Academy of Pediatrics

The Electric Power Research Institute provides a comparison of exposure levels from several sources, including cell phones and smart meters. See page 9 from this report for the full chart:

Here is a partial chart:

  • Cell Phone Frequency: 900MHz, 1800 MHz Exposure level: 1 - 5 mW/cm2 at ear during call
  • Smart Meter Frequency: 900MHz, 2400 MHz Exposure level: .0001 mW/cm2 (250 mW, 1% of duty cycle), .002 mW/cm2 (1 W 5% of duty cycle) at 3 feet away from meter during transmission

Distributed Energy Resources

Grid Integration and the Carrying Capacity of the U.S. Grid to Incorporate Variable Renewable Energy.

Summary: In the United States and elsewhere, renewable energy (RE) generation supplies an increasingly large percentage of annual demand,This white paper summarizes the challenges to integrating increasing amounts of variable RE, identifies emerging practices in power system planning and operation that can facilitate grid integration, and proposes a unifying concept—economic carrying capacity—that can provide a framework for evaluating actions to accommodate higher penetrations of RE. There is growing recognition that while technical challenges to variable RE integration are real, they can generally be addressed via a variety of solutions that vary in implementation cost. As a result, limits to RE penetration are primarily economic, driven by factors that include transmission and the flexibility of the power grid to balance supply and demand. This limit can be expressed as economic carrying capacity, or the point at which variable RE is no longer economically competitive or desirable to the system or society. Power systems already have some degree of operational flexibility, an ability to respond to change in demand and supply, as they must accommodate variable and uncertain load. Power system operators have thus been able to accommodate increased variable RE largely without substantial new investment in system flexibility, such as new storage, demand response, or generation dedicated to addressing RE variability and uncertainty. To achieve higher penetration levels, multiple grid integration studies in the United States have evaluated scenarios where an economic carrying capacity of at least 30% is achieved via transmission expansion and largely understood changes to system operations. Studies have also demonstrated that carrying capacity is not fixed and can be improved through technical and institutional changes. This creates the possibility to achieve even higher penetration levels through strategic investments in both demand- and supply-side sources of flexibility. Link to full report:

Distributed Energy Resources 101.The energy industry’s focus on DERs is a function of how important it’s become to understand the potential capabilities they have to offer. In 2015, U.S. electric utilities spent $103 billion in capital expenditures to maintain and upgrade the grid — and they now expect average annual spending of around $100 billion through 2018, even as growth in electricity demand slows.

Ever wonder how the USA's electric grid works? EPA has a comprehensive powerpoint on this topic, including explanation of a lot of terminology. Check out Electricity 101.


Serious vulnerabilities in smart electricity meters continue to expose both consumers and electric utilities to cyberattacks. However, some have questioned claims that hackers can cause these devices to explode.

Last updated July 26, 2019