Hands Off My Thermostat!
Hands Off My Thermostat!
Home thermostats, specifically the smart home thermostat, should come with a warning label. It seems, if a homeowner signs up for certain energy saving programs, the fine print gives the energy company the right to go in remotely and change your home temperature without your say so!
During the dog days of summer, it’s important to keep your home cool. But when thousands of Xcel customers in Colorado tried adjusting their thermostats Tuesday, they learned they had no control over the temperatures in their own homes.
Temperatures climbed into the 90s Tuesday, which is why Tony Talarico tried to crank up the air conditioning in his partner’s Arvada home.
“I mean, it was 90 out, and it was right during the peak period,” Talarico said. “It was hot.”
That’s when he saw a message on the thermostat stating the temperature was locked due to an “energy emergency.”
Yes folks, you read that correctly. Out here in Colorado, Xcel Energy decided the best way to conserve energy was to lock 22,000 customers out of their thermostats. Temperatures of 90+ degrees, something we see here in Colorado EVERY SINGLE SUMMER, was enough for Xcel to arbitrarily lock customers out of their thermostats and set the temps to 78 degrees.
The fine print evidently gives Xcel control when the company deems it necessary. Evidently, not planning ahead to have backup systems (Texas ice storm anyone?) when one goes offline, gives the company the “authority” to change the temperatures in your own home.
“We understand the need to keep cool on hot summer days and work hard to provide our customers with the energy they rely on,” Xcel said in a statement provided to 9NEWS. “Our customers have a choice to participate in this voluntary program that helps them manage energy demands while receiving cash for their involvement.”
Xcel says on its website that “control events” – when Xcel makes adjustments to the thermostats of participating customers – can happen at anytime during the summer.
Customers can opt out of control events at any time, though on rare occasions, system emergencies can trigger an event that can’t be overridden. Tuesday was one of those times when participating customers could not opt-out, Xcel said.
Here’s the problem with this. The customers received zero notification that this was going to happen. It’s supposedly a smart home system, so therefore a text can be sent to those customers letting them know this would take place. There’s been no evidence that that happened at all.
Utility company tricked you/us. They hid a line of text in the fine print when you “signed up for subsidies” giving @XcelEnergy coverage to force it’s customers to “opt out”. Legal disclosures should NOT take advantage of people. Bad form @XcelEnergyCO— Derek (@VeteranDads) September 1, 2022
About those fabulous subsidies. Xcel pays customers who sign up a mere $100, and then $25 annually. Big Whoop! Lots of savings there.
Welcome to the Green New Deal.— Floris Tidderwallow (@fTidderwallow) September 1, 2022
Yes, this is one of the downsides of the Green New Deal push. Signing up for smart energy programs can come with hidden costs to the homeowner. And the grid for that matter. As Colorado media reported, many of those homes locked out of their thermostats saw the temperatures climb to nearly 90 degrees.
Something to consider here. It takes a great deal of energy to bring temperatures down or raise them up. It takes less energy to keep temperatures consistent.
That said, what Colorado homeowners experienced is somewhat similar to what is going on in California. Fresh off of Gavin Newsom’s much-hyped push to ban all gas cars and switch to EV’s (electric vehicles) by 2035, California energy companies issued a warning.
Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that California’s electric grid can’t handle the current number of electric vehicle charging stations now? What does that mean for California’s home thermostats? Oh wait, they wanted users to conserve energy in their own homes as well. At least they didn’t lock people out of their own thermostats…YET.
Europe is facing quite the energy crisis for this winter. Coal plants were shuttered and nuclear plants were going offline. Then, the entire Russia/Ukraine mess blew up. Now, Russia has shut down the Nord Stream pipeline, indefinitely. Suddenly Germany is running back to nuclear energy to power the country.
Germany will keep two of its three remaining nuclear power plants operational as an emergency reserve for its electricity supply, delaying the country’s plans to become the first industrial power to go nuclear-free for its energy.https://t.co/lMo68bSkni— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 6, 2022
Unexpectedly, the Green New Deal isn’t looking so spiffy now is it?
Xcel Energy in Colorado cranked up the smart thermostats on thousands of their customers last Tuesday because it was hot–not as hot as much of the summer mind you but their growing dependency on wind and solar must not have worked as they keep phasing out coal.— Steve Bunten (@smbunten) September 4, 2022
Colorado customers were locked out of their own home systems last week. This week, the temps are again in the high 90’s. Will Xcel lock their customers out again? It could happen. And Xcel’s response will be just as condescending as it was last week.
Exit question: If any of those customers choose to opt-out of this fabulous energy “saving” program, will Xcel let them, or will they be charged?
This is the expensive, costly future of the Green New Deal that is waiting for us. Our home is our castle, unless the energy company arbitrarily decides otherwise.
Feature Photo Credit: Smart home thermostat, via Ecobee, cropped and modified