Texas thermostats adjusted remotely during heat wave residents claim

Some residents in Texas are feeling the heat despite setting their home thermostats at a comfortable temperature.

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Brandon English said his wife had turned on their home’s air conditioning this week and then she and their daughters took a nap.

When English got home, the house inside was 78, hotter than what the family expected with the air conditioning running.

“They woke up sweating,” English told KHOU.

He said that no one adjusted the thermostat but it was changed as the family slept, making the house potentially too hot for his 3-month-old daughter.

“Was my daughter at the point of overheating? She’s 3 months old. They dehydrate very quickly,” English told KHOU.

Apparently English was enrolled in a program called Smart Savers Texas operated by EnergyHub. When users sign up for perks to save money, they give permission to the company to remotely adjust smart thermostats, like the one that was installed in English’s home, when energy demand is high.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked customers to set their thermostats at 78 to cut power usage as temperatures climbed into the high 90s, The Verge reported.

English wasn’t the only one who was surprised with a warm home. KHOU found complaints on Reddit where others claim their smart thermostats were turned up remotely.

Scientific America reported about how utility companies can control Nest thermostats remotely when energy demand is high back in 2013.

It is called demand response, and allows companies to tweak how much energy customers use, Scientific American reported.

For more on demand response and the government’s role in the program, click here.

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