Texas is currently facing a summer heat wave, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked residents to turn up the temperatures on their thermostats, suggesting Texans set their thermostats to 82 degrees at night.
The move has been mocked on social media, but now residents have noticed their smart thermostats are being controlled remotely by the energy companies. KHOU 11 reported late last week the neighbors in Houston have found their homes hotter than where they set them:
When Deer Park resident Brandon English got home from work on Wednesday, his house was hot.
“(My wife) had it cranked it [sic] 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.
“Was my daughter at the point of overheating?” English said. “She’s 3 months old. They dehydrate very quickly.”
Shortly after waking, English’s wife received an alert on her phone saying the thermostat had been changed remotely for the purpose of a three-hour “energy saving event.”
KHOU 11 reported that the family’s smart thermostat had been installed a few years earlier as part of their new home security package and that the thermostat could be enrolled in a program called “Smart Savers Texas,” operated by 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,” the outlet reported.
English unenrolled from the program once he learned about the outside control.
“I wouldn’t want anybody else controlling my things for me,” he told KHOU 11
Erika Diamond, EnergyHub’s vice president of customer solutions, told Business Insider in a statement that the company can increase thermostats by up to four degrees during energy saving events.
“During a demand-response event, Smart Savers Texas increases the temperature on participating thermostats by up to 4 degrees to reduce energy consumption and relieve stress on the grid,” Diamond told the outlet, adding that “the ability to reduce energy consumption is critical to managing the grid, in Texas and nationwide.”
The attempt to control residents’ used energy comes months after the Texas power grid was overloaded during winter storms, an event that left millions without power and increased electric bills to more than $10,000 a month in some cases.
As The Daily Wire previously reported:
The cold southern weather created a situation where fuel demand increased at the same time production capabilities were stymied. Energy prices went up as a result. The electric grid struggled to keep up with the need, which made some utilities enforce blackouts.