(TheRedAlertNews.com) – Thousands of Colorado residents lost control over the temperature in their homes after their utility company remotely locked their smart thermostats over an “energy emergency.”
Even though temperatures in some parts of the state reached into the 90s last week, many residents had no way of adjusting the temperature in their homes for many hours.
That is because their utility Xcel Energy had taken over their thermostat, KMGH-TV reported, as cited by Breitbart News.
About 22,000 customers got locked out of their smart devices. That is because they had subscribed to Xcel Energy’s AC Rewards program, which gives them a one-time $100 bill credit plus an additional $25 per year.
In exchange, however, the participants in the program agree that the utility would have control over their home thermostats on the hottest days to reduce the strain on the power grid.
Xcel Energy has about 1.5 million customers in several states, and about 45,600 are part of the program in Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota.
Last week’s situation, however, marked the first time in the program’s six-year history in which the utility used the option to lock those customers out of being able to control their thermostats.
On their smart devices, the Xcel Energy clients in Colorado saw a message that they could not adjust the temperature because of an “energy emergency.”
“Normally, when we see a message like that, we’re able to override it. In this case, we weren’t. So, our thermostat was locked in at 78 or 79,” resident Tony Talarico said.
The emergency had resulted from the combination of high temperatures and an unexpected outage.
“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives. 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 Xcel VP Emmett Romine.
Colorado’s remote utility takeover of home thermostats has caused angry reactions nationwide.
“This is every American’s future if we allow the freakish Left to implement the Green New Deal,” American Greatness senior fellow Ned Ryun wrote on Twitter.
“This is the reality of the internet of things. Pretty soon companies and/or the govt will be able to remotely disable anything you think you “own.” And this specific case is explicitly what the “smart grid” is about,” tweeted American Reformer senior fellow Aaron Renn.