‘It Was Hot!’: Power Company Remotely Raised Temps On Home Thermostats, Locking Customers Out During Intense Heatwave
The residents were taken aback the previous week when they returned home to discover their houses were warmer than they had desired and they had no control over the temperature.
At this time, people living in Colorado are reporting very high temperatures throughout the state. As a consequence of this, people are lowering the temperature settings on their thermostats in an attempt to forestall the further increase in temperature. As a precautionary measure for the electricity system during the heat wave, the Xcel Energy company asked its customers to boost the temperature on their thermostats.
Although the electricity company first approached many homeowners with this as a request, over the course of the last week, others have come to the realization that it is mandated of them, and that they do not have a choice in the issue.
The previous week, residents of Denver were taken aback when they discovered that their houses were warmer than they wanted them to be, despite the fact that they had their air conditioners running. It turned out that many of the homeowners had the correct idea when they hypothesized that their thermostats were being manipulated remotely.
TFTP reports that Xcel Energy initiated a program known as the “AC Rewards Program” some years ago and has since been enrolling homes in it. Families were enticed to participate in the program by the promise of a credit of one hundred dollars on their electricity bill. However, in return for participation in the program, households gave Xcel permission to adjust their thermostats during times of peak demand for electricity.
According to Xcel’s terms and conditions, the thermostat control may be overridden from either the thermostat itself, a mobile device, or a web app on your computer. Having said that, another provision of the conditions states that “On rare occasions, system emergencies may cause a control event that cannot be overridden.”
According to reports from 9 News, an energy emergency occurred throughout the system on that particular day as a result of high temperatures and the failure of a unit at a power plant. Xcel said that the corporation did not sell electricity to customers in other states.
“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.”
When thousands of individuals discovered that their houses were becoming unbearably warm, they rapidly discovered that they were unable to lower the temperature on their thermostats.
“I mean, it was 90 out, and it was right during the peak period,” Tony Talarico told Denver 7. “It was hot.”
But when Talarico sought to bypass Xcel Energy’s control, he was unable and understood that he was locked out because of a “energy emergency.”
“Normally, when we see a message like that, we’re able to override it,” Talarico said. “In this case, we weren’t. So, our thermostat was locked in at 78 or 79.”
Xcel informed the more than 22,000 people who were locked out of their thermostats that they freely accepted the program after some of those residents resorted to social media to protest about the issue.
“Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” said Emmett Romine, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel.
“So, it helps everybody for people to participate in these programs. It is a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, but it’s very, very helpful,” said Romine.
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