If you use a cell phone, “opting-out” of a PUD meter that uses radio frequency (RF) for meter readings will not reduce your exposure to low-energy, non-ionizing radiation.
Many devices in your home, including cell phones, WiFi routers, leaky microwave ovens, and Bluetooth devices expose you to similar radiation. Your exposure to RF is determined by the power of the device, your distance from it, and how long you are near it. Distance is particularly important because the amount of energy decreases with the square of the distance from the device. For example, your brain receives about 200 times more RF when you hold your cell phone to your ear than when you hold it at arm’s length.
Let’s compare your brain’s RF exposure from cell phones and from the PUD’s RF-equipped meters. Both devices have similar radiated power. A cell phone at your ear is about 2 inches from the brain. You are unlikely to be closer to your electrical meter than 8 feet. If both devices are at the same power, the intensity of the RF at your brain from the cell phone is about 2000 times greater than from the meter.
How long are the two devices radiating? Modern RF meters broadcast about 1% of each day (14 minutes). But, unless it is powered off, a cell phone is always radiating and many people use their cell phones for several hours every day. To reduce RF exposure from your cell phone to the same level as from a meter, you would have to limit your average cell phone usage to 1.4 minutes a day if holding the phone at arm’s length, or less than a second if holding it at your ear.