Imagine you’re experiencing a heatwave with temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit accompanied by high humidity.
Imagine you’ve set your thermostat somewhere between 70-75 degrees F… but every time you check your thermostat, you see that the temperature inside your house is above 80 degrees!
After an hour or two of this, you’d naturally begin to wonder if your thermostat or air conditioner was broken. And you’d be sweating it out — literally! — while you tried to figure out what was going on.
Well, get this…
If you live in the state of Texas, your local utility company might be overriding your thermostat’s settings without your knowledge.
Writing for SlashGear, Shane McGlaun reports:
Texas is currently undergoing a heatwave, which essentially happens every summer within the state. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has urged Texans to increase their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher to help ease the strain on the grid. The problem some have faced is that their electric companies took control of their Thermostats and changed their settings without asking.
Some users report that their thermostat settings were changed to as high as 82 degrees. Any Texas native who has spent a summer in the sweltering heat knows once the home reaches a high temperature, it’s nearly impossible to get it to cool back off without the system running constantly, leading to freeze-ups and other problems. Excessive heat can also be particularly dangerous for very young and very old people.
Google has stated that the temperatures being changed on thermostats in some Texas homes was related to energy programs managed by local utility companies that it says are working as intended. The programs aren’t exclusive to Nest thermostats, and the users had to opt into the program with a utility provider. Google also noted that the users could opt-out at any time.
This is the darkside of WiFi-connected smart devices like Google Nest. It gives utility companies the opportunity to set your thermostat for you.
And if you don’t realize that you’ve opted into an “energy saver” program — or if you opted in but didn’t realize that you were giving the utility company permission to make indoor temperature choices on your behalf — then it can be quite shocking to experience their intervention when they finally decide to override your thermostat and block your attempts to change it.
If for some reason you notice your thermostat “not working” this summer, the first thing you should do is call your utility company to see if they’re controlling it. And if they are, opt-out of whatever energy saver program you’ve been enrolled in.