(ETH) – Texas power companies heated up some customers’ homes last week by remotely controlling their smart thermostats, KHOU 11 reported Thursday. One resident in the state, which is facing a heatwave that is straining its power grid, told KHOU 11 his family had awoken from a nap sweating and shocked their home had gotten as hot as 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

It turns out they had enrolled their thermostats in an energy-conservation promotion called Smart Savers Texas, run by a company called EnergyHub, in partnership with power companies. The program gives EnergyHub permission to adjust participants’ smart thermostats remotely during times of peak energy demand, in exchange for entry into a sweepstakes.

“During a demand-response event, Smart Savers Texas increases the temperature on participating thermostats by up to 4 degrees to reduce energy consumption and relieve stress on the grid,” Erika Diamond, EnergyHub’s vice president of customer solutions, told Insider, adding that “the ability to reduce energy consumption is critical to managing the grid, in Texas and nationwide.”


Thermostat owners typically get an offer to participate in the program from their device manufacturer or energy provider via mobile app or email, Diamond said, and “every participant actively agrees to the terms of the program and can opt out of a demand-response event at any time.” Diamond told USA Today that demand-response events occurred rarely, about two to eight times a summer. READ MORE

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