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Texas Power Companies Increase Distance and Temperature on Resident Smart Thermostats

Illustration for the article titled Texas Power Companies Increase Distance and Temperature to Residents & # 39;  Smart thermostats

Photo: Brandon Bell (Getty Images)

Texas is one of them several states suffers from a record heat wave that pushes electrical networks to their limits. The Texas Council on Electrical Reliability, the ERCOT, has urge residents to do their part by raising the temperature on their thermostats, but many smart thermostat owners say their devices have been remotely controlled to conserve energy, leaving them in suffocating homes with no clue why.

It turns out, some of them just didn’t read the fine print. Many residents in the Houston area said they were unaware of a program called “Texas Smart Savers” as part of a promotion, according to a report from local ABC affiliate WFAA Friday. The agreement stipulates that in exchange for a lottery ticket, electric customers will be given permission by the program operator, EnergyHub, to control their thermostats during periods of high energy demand.

Brandon English, one of the residents with whom WFAA spoke, said he came home from work Wednesday to find that the temperature of his smart thermostat had been exploited while his wife and newborn daughter were dreamy.

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

He forgot about the program as soon as he learned it and expressed his concern about how remote temperature regulation could affect his family’s health.

“Was my daughter about to overheat?” English told WFAA. “She is 3 months old. They dehydrate very quickly. ”

The EnergyHub website says it is associated with several thermostat suppliers, including Google and Amazon, and his customer list includes large 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 energy solutions. customers on EnergyHub, in an email statement to Gizmodo on Saturday. He added that customers will typically receive an offer to join the program from their power supplier or their thermostat manufacturer and can opt-out at any time. On average, These energy saving events occur two to eight times each summer, Diamond said USA Today.

In a statement to NBC’s Houston affiliate KPRC 2, CenterPoint Energy said it conducted a “test reduction event” in June 16 from 2 pm to 5 pm, and notified EnergyHub to reduce energy consumption for its residential customers who have agreed to participate in the Texas Smart Savers program. Upon receipt of the notification, EnergyHub adapted the thermostats for the participating customers.

You can read EnergyHub’s email statement completely below:

“Smart Savers Texas helps maintain network reliability by working with thermostat manufacturers and security resellers to get connected thermostat owners to participate in reducing power use when the network needs it most.

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 raises 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 consumption is critical to managing the grid, in Texas and across the country. EnergyHub works with more than 50 utilities across the country to leverage connected devices to meet network needs. This is a tool to reliably reduce the load on the enabled network through EnergyHub technology and our connected thermostat partners. ”

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