Power Utility Smart Meters Causing Router Interference

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Power Utility Smart Meters Causing Router Interference
Maine Public Advocate Says Users Not Being Educated
by Karl Bode 02:03PM Monday Nov 21 2011 Tipped by FFH5 See Profile
Central Maine Power (CMP) has been deploying smart electric meters, allowing the company to detect problems remotely and bill users without home readings. Unfortunately, the 440,000 smart meters installed so far (with around 180,000 more planned) operate in the 2.4 Ghz frequency, and as a result are interfering with home electronics including home wireless routers. With many people lacking the technical expertise to even set a router password, not too surprisingly the sudden interference is causing some problems for local customers, according to the Portland Press Herald:


If some appliances, computers or communications equipment have been working oddly lately, the Maine Public Advocate’s office said your electric meter may be to blame. A spokesman for Central Maine Power says the company is aware of the problem with its smart meters, seen being installed last year in Portland, and has set up a special unit to handle complaints. The office put out a statement this week saying Central Maine Power Co.’s “smart meters” — which use low-power radio frequency transmissions to send meter readings to the company — are interfering with a wide range of household electronic devices, from garage door openers and WiFi devices to security systems.

The Office of the Public Advocate is complaining that the utility isn’t providing enough information to customers, though only about 250 customers have complained. The meter’s radio only actually only kicks on for a few minutes every so often, which means those suddenly having interference problems likely have a hard time tying it to the new meters. According to the Utility’s FAQ, the company recommends users move equipment or change their AP channel to either 1 or 11.

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