This letter presents an experimental study and a novel modelling approach of the wireless channel of smart utility meters placed in basements or sculleries. The experimental data consist of signal strength measurements of consumption report packets. Since such packets are only registered if they can be decoded by the receiver, the part of the signal strength distribution that falls below the receiver sensitivity threshold is not observable. We combine a Rician fading model with a bias function that captures the cut-off in the observed signal strength measurements. Two sets of experimental data are analysed. It is shown that the proposed method offers an approximation of the distribution of the signal strength measurements that is better than a na\"ive Rician fitting.