Have a smart thermostat at home? Better keep an eye on it – especially if you live in Texas.
That’s because some residents of the Lone Star state have been claiming that someone has been turning up the temperatures at their homes, remotely, at the same time the state is undergoing an energy shortage.
And while the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has asked Texans to turn up the temperatures at their homes to help deal with the shortage, some residents are claiming it’s being done for them.
Deer Park resident Brandon English told KHOU: “(My wife) had it cranked it down at 2:30. It takes a long time for this house to get cool when it gets that hot. They’d been asleep long enough that the house had already gotten to 78 degrees. So they woke up sweating.”
His wife received an alert on her phone shortly thereafter saying their thermostat had been changed remotely due to an “energy saving event”.
“Was my daughter at the point of overheating? She’s 3 months old. They dehydrate very quickly,” English said. And according to KHOU, the English’s house isn’t the only place where such “adjustments” can take place:
The family’s smart thermostat was installed a few years ago as part of a new home security package. Many smart thermostats can be enrolled in a program called “Smart Savers Texas.” It’s operated by a company called EnergyHub.
The agreement states that in exchange for an entry into sweepstakes, electric customers allow them to control their thermostats during periods of high energy demand. EnergyHub’s list of its clients include TXU Energy, CenterPoint and ERCOT.
“I wouldn’t want anybody else controlling my things for me,” English said. He said he unenrolled the home’s thermostat as soon as he found out. “If somebody else can manipulate this, I’m not for it,” he said.
Similar complaints on a Houston Reddit board showed that English wasn’t the only person who had the issue. “Several others” said their thermostats were also accessed and turned up.