Texas power companies remotely raise temperatures on smart resident thermostats

Illustration from article titled Texas Power Companies Remotely Raise Resident Temperatures »Smart Thermostats

Photo: Brandon bell (Getty Images)

Texas is one of several states suffering from a record heat wave pushing electricity networks to their limits. Texas Electrical Reliability Council, or ERCOT, possesses urged residents do their part by raising the temperature of their thermostats, but several smart thermostat owners say their devices have been remotely controlled to save energy, leaving them in stuffy homes without knowing why.

It turns out that some of them I just didn’t read the fine print. Several Houston-area residents said they unknowingly signed up for a program called “Smart Savers Texas” as part of a promotion, according to a report from local ABC affiliate. WFAA Friday. The agreement stipulates that in exchange for participation in the raffle, electricity customers grant permission to the operator of the program, Energy center, to control their thermostats during periods of high energy demand.

Brandon English, one of the residents WFAA spoke to, said he came home from work on Wednesday to find his smart thermostat temperature rose while his wife and newborn daughter took a nap .

“They had slept long enough that the house was already at 78 degrees,” English said. “So they woke up sweating.”

He opted out of the program as soon as he found out about it and expressed concern about how remote temperature control might affect his family’s health.

“Was my daughter about to overheat?” The Englishman said WFAA. “She is 3 months old. They get dehydrated very quickly.

EnergyHub’s website states that it is in partnership with several thermostats vendors, including Google and Amazon, and his client list includes major energy companies such as National Grid, CenterPoint energy, and ERCOT.

During energy saving events, the program “increases the temperature of participating thermostats by up to four degrees to reduce energy consumption and relieve stress on the grid,” said Erika Diamond, vice president of solutions customer at EnergyHub, in an email statement to Gizmodo on Saturday. She added that customers will usually receive an offer to join the program from their energy supplier or the manufacturer of their thermostat and can opt out at any time. On average, these energy-saving events occur between two and eight times each summer, Diamond said USA today.

In a statement to the Houston-based NBC affiliate KPRC 2, CenterPoint Energy said it held a “test reduction event” on June 16 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and notified EnergyHub to reduce the energy consumption of their residential customers who have agreed to participate in the Texas Smart Savers program. Once the notification was received, EnergyHub adjusted the thermostats for participating customers.

You can read EnergyHub emails statement in full below:

“Smart Savers Texas is helping to support network reliability by working with thermostat manufacturers and security reseller partners to enroll owners of connected thermostats to help reduce energy use when the network has the most. need.

Thermostat owners typically receive an offer to participate from their manufacturer or service provider in their mobile app or via email. During a demand response event, Smart Savers Texas increases the temperature of participating thermostats by up to four degrees to reduce power consumption and relieve stress on the grid. Each participant actively accepts the terms of the program and can opt out of a demand response event at any time.

The ability to reduce energy use is critical to grid management in Texas and across the country. EnergyHub works with more than 50 utilities across the country to leverage connected devices to meet grid needs. It is a tool to reliably reduce the load on the grid thanks to the technology of EnergyHub and our partners of connected thermostats. “

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