A Colorado energy company puts a lock on some customers AC settings. / PHOTO: AP ( Headline USA ) A Colorado energy company locked out tens of thousands of residents from turning the temperature on their thermostats down, arguing that the company needed to conserve resources.
Resident Tony Talarico told KMGH-TV this week that on a hot 90-degree day this week, he went to turn his thermostat down only to discover that it was locked into 80-degrees. A message on the thermostat from Xcel Energy said it had been locked due to an “energy emergency.”
“Normally, when we see a message like that, we’re able to override it,” Talarico explained. “In this case, we weren’t. So, our thermostat was locked in at 78 or 79.”
The company confirmed that 22,000 customers a part of its AC REwards program had been locked out from controlling their thermostats, and defended the decision as one that guarantees a “convenient, energy-saving lifestyle with long-term benefits.”
“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,” the company said in a statement.
“You’ll be cut back on the time your central air works to cool your home with control events.”
Xcel incentivizes customers to join the program by offering them an annual credit of $25 and a one-time enrollment credit of $100.
“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” Emmett Romine, Xcel’s vice president of customer solutions and innovation, said.“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.”
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