It’s common knowledge you don’t mess with Texas. You don’t mess with our BBQ, our football, and you best not mess with our thermostats. Over the past month some Houstonians have become uncomfortably warm in their homes due to thermostat temperatures being raised without their knowledge. This has caused many upset consumers to wonder how this could happen to them and who is responsible.
“Smart Savers Texas”
Although we should be doing our part to lighten the work for the grid, many consumers have been forced into doing so. Most people buy smart thermostats under the pretense that they will possess more power and control over their electricity usage, however consumers have recently found that it has meant quite the opposite. After purchasing a smart thermostat, consumers are asked to enroll in EnergyHub’s program called “Smart Savers Texas”. This program allows participants to be entered into a sweepstakes contest for a chance to win 1 year of free electricity and in return, companies like TXU Energy, CenterPoint, and ERCOT, can control your thermostat during peak hours.
Can They Do That?
As odd as this exchange might sound, controlling thermostat temperatures for financial compensation is no new concept. This system is called Intelligent Demand Response, which helps balance the supply and demand for energy. Electric utility companies can alter temperatures in residential thermostats to reduce the amount of electricity being used and keep the cost of energy in the wholesale market at a low price. Grid modernization efforts will also help this system by using sensors to detect when demand is high and reducing the amount of electricity used to avoid power outages. In return, all consumers are paid for their reduction in power consumption. We have seen this before in states like California where companies like PGE Residential gives $50 to each consumer who enrolls in their program. Demand Response can be extremely beneficial not only to the utility companies, but to the consumers as well when the people are financially compensated.
Taking Advantage of Texans
Through the Smart Savers Texas program, however, not all Houstonians were financially compensated for their energy reduction. EnergyHub offered up to $5000 of free electricity to people who won their “random drawings”. Which means that if you, like the majority of other people in the program, didn’t win one of the contests you were not compensated for your electricity reduction. Understandably, most Texas residents do not want to raise their thermostats a couple of degrees, however, Texans would be a lot more willing to do so if they were sure to get money for it.
Solar is the Solution!
Time and time again we have seen that the grid is unreliable. By being a solar prosumer, there’s no need to worry about rolling blackouts or some big company invading your home because you have the power. Solar is your entry to fixed rate options and monetizing your energy production. During this time of year when the heat is unbearable and the sun doesn’t set until 8pm, you can’t rely on some big company that doesn’t have your best interest in mind to do what’s best for you. Having solar allows you to use the sun time to your advantage and take your power back! Not only does having solar help you, but it also benefits your community as well. Typically during summer months, solar prosumers generate most of the electricity they use, largely offsetting costs from their usual electric utility bills. By producing your own energy not only are you saving money but you’re helping to alleviate the demand for electricity which helps out your neighbors who might be completely reliant on the grid. texas thermostats texas thermostats texas thermostats texas thermostats texas thermostats texas thermostats