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Customers’ smart thermostats were raised by Texas power companies during a heatwave

Energy saving programs give utility companies control over your thermostat.

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Image: Nest / KnowTechie

Earlier this year, the state of Texas was hit with record low temperatures that did massive amounts of damage to the states’ electric grid. Now, heat waves are beginning to form across the country, causing some concerns over whether or not the grid can handle what is to come.

According to a new report from The Verge, Texas representatives have reassured residents that the grid is repaired enough to withstand this heat. Despite this, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) recently suggested that customers set their thermostats to 78 degrees and limit electricity use during the coming heatwave.

Some smart thermostat owners were recently surprised when they tried to adjust their thermostat’s temperature. Some users found that their thermostats were locked, due to being enrolled in an energy-saving rewards program.

Programs like this are popular and are supposed to let energy companies make minor adjustments to people’s thermostats during times of energy crisis while rewarding customers for their cooperation. However, most programs are designed to allow for manual adjustment in cases of temperatures just getting too high.

There are various energy-saving programs in place, both by thermostat manufacturers and local electric companies. In this case, the program in question came from local utility companies.

According to The Verge, many people in Texas are enrolled in the “Smart Savers Texas” program, which is overseen by EnergyHub on behalf of Texas utility companies. This program gives the company the power to adjust people’s smart thermostats remotely during times of need, in exchange for potentially reduced electric bills.

Thermostat companies are insisting that their products can still be adjusted manually, even after these programs are enforced. However, the various social media reports from customers have contradicted this claim, with several examples of locked thermostats.

Hopefully, this issue is resolved quickly during this powerful heatwave. For now, be very careful if you have a smart thermostat and are enrolled in a Texas energy-saving program.

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