By Amy Mek. Article originally published at RAIR Foundation USA.
The convenience of smart thermostats and the financial rewards offered to people comes with a heavy price.
About 22,000 Colorado households could not set their desired temperature on Tuesday after the power company had locked their thermostats remotely due to an “energy emergency.”
Most homes in Colorado are equipped with air conditioners due to the sweltering conditions in the summer. However, when temperatures began rising to the 90s on Tuesday, Xcel Energy customers could not control the temperatures in their homes.
Usually, when customers see message alerts, they can override them. However, this time, the utility company seized control of 22,000 customers’ thermostats and locked them between 78°F and 79°F.
The customers whose thermostats were locked had previously signed up for the company’s Colorado AC Rewards program, which gives them a “smart thermostat,” a one-time $100 enrollment credit, and $25 for each year they participate in the program. The smart thermostat is supposed to provide customers with “an easy and convenient way to manage your home’s heating and cooling comfort, as well as costs.”
It seems that many who enrolled in the program did not realize there would be a loss of autonomy. On the energy supplier’s website, they state,
By participating in AC Rewards, adjustments are made to your smart thermostat during the hottest summer days. When the demand for electricity is the highest, you’ll help us manage these peaks and ease the strain on the electrical grid. You’ll be cut back on the time your central air works to cool your home with control events.
However, the company claims that customers can opt out of the automatic adjustments at any time, except for rare occasions, “system emergencies may cause a control event that cannot be overridden,” which apparently includes “energy emergencies.”
“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” Xcel’s vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel, Emmett Romine, told Denver7.
The incident shows that ‘the convenience’ of smart thermostats and the financial rewards offered to people comes with a heavy price.
“This is every American’s future if we allow the freakish Left to implement the Green New Deal,” tweeted American Greatness senior fellow Ned Ryun.
In March, Spain banned offices, shops, and other venues from setting air conditioning below 80°F in the summer. The decree also stopped heating from being raised above 66°F during the winter. A similar ban was announced in Italy in April.