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Thermostats in Texas Are Being Adjusted Remotely

To help the power grid, utilities are invoking energy-saving program customers agreed to
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2021 12:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – It may not be any of the usual suspects in your household who are changing the thermostat setting. In Texas, power companies are reaching into homes remotely to turn the temperature up, USA Today reports. People who have noticed the surprise adjustments have pointed them out on social media. But the companies can make them if the customer joined energy-saving programs designed to reduce the strain on the state's power grid. The nonprofit that runs the Texas grid—which had a bad winter— said last week that it's worried about getting through the current heat wave. The utilities use different names for the programs, per KDFW; they include Rush Hour Rewards, Smart Savers Texas, and Give Back, Get Back. Customers sign up through their utility or thermostat provider.

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"During summer peak energy demand days, we may briefly adjust your thermostat settings by a few degrees," CPS Energy says on its website. "We'll do this only as needed." Under the rules for utilities, the changes can be in effect for one to four hours at a time, on any weekday that's not a holiday, from June 1 through Sept. 30. A company that runs one of the programs said it might happen two to eight times in a summer. Customers who want more air conditioning can cancel the remote control by adjusting the thermostat after the utility has changed the setting, or they can drop out of the program altogether. They'd be losing out on potential rewards, however, including credits on their bill and a chance to win $5,000 toward paying the bills. (Read more power grid stories.)

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