Texas Energy Companies Caught Remotely Changing Thermostats During Heatwave

The one good thing about the sweltering summer heat is being able to come home to a cool, air conditioned home (assuming you even have air conditioning, which has kind of been essential in this day and age).

What's uncool, though, is coming home to a house that's much hotter than you'd anticipated, even though neither you nor anyone in your household turned it up that high. For some Texans, this has actually happened.

It's really hot in Texas right now.

Unsplash | Tandem X Visuals

Even though summer's only just begun, the heat in Texas is already reaching the triple digits. This past week, the state has been battling the heat on top of an energy shortage crisis, which has been affecting houses all over the area, KHOU-11 reports.

For some, air conditioning isn't doing much.

People in the Houston area have been concerned about the temperatures inside their houses climbing to uncomfortable numbers, even in spite of their air conditioning being turned on.

What could be causing this? Apparently, the energy companies themselves, remotely.

Yet some people are finding their homes to be way too hot.

Brandon English, a Deer Park resident, shared his story of how he came home to a 78 degree home.

His wife had turned the air conditioning up, and she and their daughters went for an afternoon nap, English told KHOU. When they woke up, they were sweating.

This was, understandably, concerning for English.

English expressed his concern, stating that he was worried about the chance that his three-month-old daughter could have become dehydrated in the heat.

This can be super dangerous, especially when the thermostat gets turned up without your knowledge.

Some companies can remotely change your smart thermostat.

Unsplash | Dan LeFebvre

Apparently, English's wife received an alert on her phone stating that her thermostat was adjusted remotely during a three-hour "energy saving event."

As it just so happens, certain energy companies in Texas have been remotely changing thermostats in customers' homes. This was done in an effort to conserve energy within the state.

As creepy and invasive as that may seem, they're actually allowed to do this.

That is, if you're enrolled in a specific program.

The state has a program called "Smart Savers Texas." According to KHOU-11, many smart thermostats can be enrolled in the program, which is run by a company called EnergyHub.

The company works in conjunction with energy companies such as TXU Energy, CenterPoint, and ERCOT.

It gives them the ability to control your thermostat.

Customers of these electric companies give EnergyHub permission to remotely change their thermostat during peak energy hours in order to conserve some power.

This is done in exchange for an entry into sweepstakes. It doesn't sound like the fairest trade in the world, that's for sure.

And it definitely raises questions.

In a time when privacy and security is on the forefront of most people's minds, this kind of news is definitely troubling. If companies can change our smart thermostats without us even knowing, who's to tell what else they can do?

The good news is that you can unenroll.

While it looks like many customers are enrolled in the program without their knowledge, it's easy enough to unenroll. English was able to do so easily when he learned about it.

As multiple people in the Houston area have been reporting the fact that their thermostats are seemingly changing on their own, this must be the culprit. Pretty scary.

h/t: KHOU-11.

Filed Under: