It’s only been four months since the proudly independent Texas power grid failed under a cold snap, and it’s now in danger of a similar fate during the current heat wave. Texas’ Electric Reliability Council, the sterling public servant that they are, has asked Texans to raise their thermostats to 78 during the hottest part of the day. And for some, they’re not asking.
According to reports from various local news outlets, energy customers with smart thermostats like Nest have seen their home temperatures rise by remote control through their electricity provider. It’s not everyone, or even very widespread: the problem is particularly experienced by users who have opted for a “smart” energy delivery system, for perks such as a free smart thermostat, Discount on their monthly bill, or enter one of the sweepstakes.
It appears that everyone affected by this remote action agreed to it in some way or the other, so everything is legal. According to a USA Today report, an energy provider with an opt-in system will raise the home temperature “by four degrees” without warning, but only during periods of highest demand. Assuming that the air conditioning system remains on and the power does not go out, no one should be in any danger, albeit some potentially mild discomfort.
In my Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, today’s maximum temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit. There will certainly be several weeks of 100+-degree days before summer in Texas, some days up to 110. Texas Energy customers who want a nicer home (and aren’t afraid to cripple the state’s hilariously terrifying independent power grid) should try opting out of Smart Saver or similar programs, or simply tweak their smart thermostats. Should be replaced with older model.