UGH! Energy company locks thermostats at +80 degrees for 22,000 customers during ‘energy crisis’

Have you ever gotten a phone call asking if you would volunteer for an energy savings program in your area, where the energy company would be able to change the temperature in your home during high demand times? You might have been told they’d give you $100 if you signed up and a smaller amount of money every year, and you would totally be able to change your thermostat back to what you like if they altered it?

If you signed up for such a program then you’re going to want to read this report out of Colorado, where 22,000 customers did just that in Denver and were suddenly locked out of their thermostats this week while the temperature was over 90 degrees outside. The energy company set their thermostats to 78 degrees and higher and the customers were unable to change it.

Here’s more via ABC News 7 in Denver:

During the dog days of summer, it’s important to keep your home cool. But when thousands of Xcel customers in Colorado tried adjusting their thermostats Tuesday, they learned they had no control over the temperatures in their own homes.

Temperatures climbed into the 90s Tuesday, which is why Tony Talarico tried to crank up the air conditioning in his partner’s Arvada home.

“I mean, it was 90 out, and it was right during the peak period,” Talarico said. “It was hot.”

That’s when he saw a message on the thermostat stating the temperature was locked due to an “energy emergency.”

“Normally, when we see a message like that, we’re able to override it,” Talarico said. “In this case, we weren’t. So, our thermostat was locked in at 78 or 79.”

On social media, dozens of Xcel customers complained of similar experiences — some reporting home temperatures as high as 88 degrees.

The energy company in Denver reminded customers that it was a voluntary program they chose to sign up for when the customers complained about it:

Xcel confirmed to Contact Denver7 that 22,000 customers who had signed up for the Colorado AC Rewards program were locked out of their smart thermostats for hours on Tuesday.

“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” said Emmett Romine, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel.

Customers receive a $100 credit for enrolling in the program and $25 annually, but Romine said customers also agree to give up some control to save energy and money and make the system more reliable.

“So, it helps everybody for people to participate in these programs. It is a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, but it’s very, very helpful,” said Romine.

This is the first time in the program’s six year span that customers could not override their smart thermostats, Romine said. He said the “energy emergency” was due to an unexpected outage in Pueblo combined with hot weather and heavy air conditioner usage.

But Talarico said he had no idea that he could be locked out of the thermostat. While he has solar panels and a smart thermostat to save energy, he says he did not sign up to have this much control taken away.

I remember getting several phone calls in my area years ago asking me if I wanted to sign up for such a program. In short order I said ‘hell no’ because I didn’t want anyone controlling my thermostat. And now, after reading this article, I’m so glad I did.

This may be a rare occurrence right now in places like Denver, but with Democrats trying to push the country away from oil and gas and onto the electric grid, you can expect stuff like this to happen more frequently. In fact these voluntary programs might become mandatory in the future, especially in Democrat cities.

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