“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives.”
California told residents to conserve energy, including not charging the electric cars the state wants everyone to have by 2035.
Xcel in Colorado took conserving energy to another level. Residents found themselves locked out of their thermostats. From Denver7:
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.
This is the alert Xcel customers received.
Emmett Romine, Xcel’s vice president of customer solutions and innovation, claimed people give up control of their thermostats when they sign up for the Colorado AC Rewards program:
“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.
Talarico told the station he did not know Xcel could lock him out of the thermostat.
By participating in AC Rewards, adjustments are made to your smart thermostat during the hottest summer days. When the demand for electricity is the highest, you’ll help us manage these peaks and ease the strain on the electrical grid. You’ll be cut back on the time your central air works to cool your home with control events.
Control events may occur anytime during the cooling season. You’ll have the ability to opt out of control events at any time and receive optional notifications of control events, either from your thermostat, mobile device, or web app. On rare occasions, system emergencies may cause a control event that cannot be overridden.
Talarico classified an emergency along the lines of “massive wildfires.” But even then, it “doesn’t sit right with us to not be able to control our thermostat in our house.”DONATE
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