Heat hack – Texas power companies automatically raised the temperature of customers’ smart thermostats in the middle of a heat wave

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Business Insider:

  • Texas power companies remotely adjusted customers’ smart thermostats, KHOU 11 reported.
  • Customers said they had unknowingly agreed to let companies raise the temperature to save energy.
  • Texas regulators asked residents last week to conserve energy amid a heat wave.

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

One resident in the state, which is facing a heat wave that is straining its power grid, told KHOU 11 his family had awoken from a nap sweating and shocked their home had gotten as hot as 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

It turns out they had 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 4 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.”

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