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Scary: Texas Electric Companies Raised Residents Smart Thermostats Without their Consent


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Residents in Texas who have smart home thermostats were deeply disturbed during the state’s latest heat wave.

Texans who have smart thermostats reported that their temperatures to their homes were raised without their knowledge.

Reports revealed that electric companies in the state raised the temperatures of homes remotely to almost 78 degrees to conserve energy consumption.

The actions by the companies were part of a sweepstakes that residents unknowingly signed up for which gave the electric companies the right to change their customers thermostats.

I guess it’s always wise to read the fine print because you never know who’s trying to pull a quick one on you in this day of age.

Business Insider covered the concerning actions by the power companies:

Texas power companies heated up some customers’ homes last week by remotely controlling their smart thermostats, KHOU 11 reported on Thursday.

Some residents in the state, which is facing a heat wave that’s straining its power grid, told KHOU 11 that they had awoken sweating and shocked that their homes had gotten as hot as 78 degrees without them changing the temperature.

It turns out that they had unknowingly enrolled their thermostats in an energy conservation promotion called “Smart Savers Texas,” run by a company called EnergyHub, in partnership with power companies. The program gives EnergyHub permission to adjust participants’ smart thermostats remotely during times of peak energy demand, in exchange for entry into a sweepstakes.

“During a demand response event, Smart Savers Texas increases the temperature on participating thermostats by up to four degrees to reduce energy consumption and relieve stress on the grid,” Erika Diamond, EnergyHub’s vice president of customer solutions, told Insider, adding that “the ability to reduce energy consumption is critical to managing the grid, in Texas and nationwide.”

WFAA reported a resident’s personnel experience of their thermostat being changed:

Some neighbors in the Houston area said their homes have been much warmer this week, even while they are running their air conditioners.

Many of them claim someone has been turning up the temperature on their thermostats since the energy shortage began.

When Deer Park resident Brandon English got home from work on Wednesday, his house was hot.

“(My wife) had it cranked it down at 2:30,” English said. “It takes a long time for this house to get cool when it gets that hot.”

English’s wife and their daughters decided to take their afternoon nap earlier in the day.

“They’d been asleep long enough that the house had already gotten to 78 degrees,” English said. “So they woke up sweating.”

Without anyone touching it, they said their thermostat was changed while they were sleeping, making their home unbearably hot.

His wife received an alert on her phone soon after that. The family said their thermostat had been changed remotely, raising the temperature of their home during a three-hour “energy saving event.”

The family’s smart thermostat was installed a few years ago as part of a new home security package. Many smart thermostats can be enrolled in a program called “Smart Savers Texas.” It’s operated by a company called EnergyHub.

The agreement states that in exchange for an entry into sweepstakes, electric customers allow them to control their thermostats during periods of high energy demand. EnergyHub’s list of its clients include TXU Energy, CenterPoint and ERCOT.



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