Colorado Utility Took Control Of Thousands Of People’s Home Thermostats

(Photo illustration by George Frey/Getty Images)

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Jack McEvoy Energy & Environment Reporter
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Xcel Energy prevented thousands of customers in Colorado from changing the temperature in their homes for hours during a heat wave on Tuesday due to an “energy emergency,” according to ABC affiliate Denver7.

Xcel’s “smart thermostats” prevented over 22,000 people, who signed up for Xcel’s Colorado AC Rewards program, from cooling their homes past a certain temperature during a heat wave in which temperatures hit over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Denver7. The smart thermostats locked home temperatures from going below a certain threshold, telling customers that this setting could not be overridden due to an “energy emergency” caused by high temperatures and soaring energy demand. (RELATED: ‘I Caught That Fish’: Multimillionaire Colorado Dem Reels In 24-Hour Fishing License For New Campaign Ad: REPORT)

“Even if it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon situation, it just doesn’t sit right with us to not be able to control our own thermostat in our house,” one customer and Colorado resident told Denver7.

Xcel admitted that it prevented customers’ smart thermostats from lowering the temperature in their homes, according to Denver7.

“It is a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, but it’s very, very helpful,” Emmett Romine, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel, told Denver7.

Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke speaks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Arvada, Colorado, on September 14, 2021. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Customers who participate in the rewards program that grants them a smart thermostat receive a one-time $100 enrollment bill credit and earn $25 every year they participate in the program, according to the company website. The energy provider also states that a smart thermostat is a convenient way to manage home temperatures and save energy.

Xcel states that they may control smart thermostats at any time during the summer months but that customers can override control events that are not designated as “system emergencies,” according to its website.

“It’s a voluntary program,” Romine said. “Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives.”

Colorado is currently experiencing a heat wave which will continue to spike energy demand and test its grid as people move to cool their homes.

Xcel did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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