Smart home devices are great until they're not. The earliest device to get smart and go mainstream is the thermostat, thanks to Nest. The device is sleek and easy to use. Over time many others have come to the market. But now we see the downside: a power company in Colorado locked out their customers from adjusting their thermostats during a heat wave. Justine Calma at The Verge has more.
When the utility adjusts a customer’s thermostat, the customer typically has the option to opt-out. But, “On rare occasions, system emergencies may cause a control event that cannot be overridden,” the company says on its website.
Last week was the first time Xcel barred customers from overriding their adjustments in the six years since the program started, according to Denver7. High temperatures, soaring power demand for air conditioners, and an unexpected outage all contributed to last week’s energy emergency, Xcel vice president Emmett Romine told Denver7.The Verge
These 'energy saving' programs are common for many areas of the US. I participate in one as well, which is a simple proposal: my local power company can adjust my thermostat during times of "high stress" and I get a rebate every year. However, I can override it at any time AND I get alerts when it is going to happen. Nothing is a surprise and I always remain in control.
For those Xcel customers who were locked out, this is an abysmal abuse of that agreement. People are willing to do their part to help but when it is 88 degrees in someone's home, you need to have your air conditioning turned on.
Personally, if this were to happen to me, I would instantly factory reset my thermostat and set it up without connecting to wifi. This would override anything because the thermostat is now back to Day 1 status. That or I would rip it off the wall and begin splicing some wires to manually jump the HVAC connection.
When it's that hot inside, it's time to take extreme measures.
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