Texas power firms elevate the temperature of sensible thermostats. This is why.
Do you live in Texas and find that your thermostat temperature has increased on its own?
Some smart thermostat owners in the Lone Star State found their preset temperatures spike, which was done remotely by their utility company, according to local reports. It was not unreasonable: The adjustments are being made as part of programs to save energy and reduce the load on the power grid.
Brandon English told Houston TV station KHOU that his wife and daughters lowered their thermostat temperature before napping. When they woke up, their house was much warmer.
“They had slept long enough that the house was already 78 degrees,” said English KHOU. “So you woke up drenched in sweat.”
In Galveston, Karen Rogers told NBC subsidiary KPRC that she had noticed the temperature of her thermostat had been raised without her consent. She later found it was part of an energy-saving event initiated by her energy company, the report says.
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Meanwhile, CBS station KENS reports that some CPS Energy customers have adjusted their thermostats during peak energy periods.
The adjustments are part of energy-saving programs by energy companies. For example, CPS Energy’s WiFi Thermostat Rewards program offers a one-time billing credit upon enrollment and an annual billing credit at the end of summer if you use a qualifying WiFi-enabled thermostat.
As part of the program, the company can remotely adjust customers’ thermostats. “During the summer peak energy demand days, we can temporarily adjust your thermostat settings by a few degrees. We only do this when necessary, ”says the CPS Energy website.
A similar program called Smart Savers Texas allows you to remotely change thermostat temperatures during peak energy events.
Erika Diamond, vice president of customer solutions at EnergyHub, which operates Smart Savers Texas, said customers typically receive an offer to join the program from their utility or the manufacturer of their thermostat.
During a peak energy event, the program “increases the temperature of participating thermostats by up to four degrees to reduce energy consumption and relieve the grid,” said Diamond. Customers can unsubscribe at any time. Diamond also said that such events are rare, possibly two to eight times during the summer.
Representatives from CPS Energy and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s power grid, were not immediately available for comment.
At the beginning of this week, ERCOT asked residents to save energy because of the hot weather. In February, a historic winter storm left millions of Texans without electricity.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23.