A Man’s Thermostat Is His Castle?

We all use thermostats to control the temperature in our homes. In the winter, we adjust our thermostat to warm to the desired temperature; in the summer, to cool to a comfortable temperature. We do this with an eye to the cost of energy: we don’t necessarily heat our homes, or cool our homes, as much as we might wish. Like most things in life, it is a trade-off.

But if the liberals have their way, we may lose control over our homes altogether. Energy expert Isaac Orr has the story:

Denver News reports that Xcel Energy locked out 22,000 customers in Colorado from adjusting their thermostats as temperatures rose into the 90s.

[W]hen thousands of Xcel customers in Colorado tried adjusting their thermostats Tuesday, they learned they had no control over the temperatures in their own homes.

Temperatures climbed into the 90s Tuesday, which is why Tony Talarico tried to crank up the air conditioning in his partner’s Arvada home.

“I mean, it was 90 out, and it was right during the peak period,” Talarico said. “It was hot.”

That’s when he saw a message on the thermostat stating the temperature was locked due to an “energy emergency.”

“Normally, when we see a message like that, we’re able to override it,” Talarico said. “In this case, we weren’t. So, our thermostat was locked in at 78 or 79.”

That is a key point. These are customers who signed up for Xcel’s Colorado AC Rewards program:

“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” said Emmett Romine, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel.

Customers receive a $100 credit for enrolling in the program and $25 annually, but Romine said customers also agree to give up some control to save energy and money and make the system more reliable.

It is voluntary, for now, but you have to read the fine print: if the utility wants to take over your thermostat and prevent you from changing the temperature to make your home more comfortable, it can do that:

This is the first time in the program’s six year span that customers could not override their smart thermostats, Romine said. He said the “energy emergency” was due to an unexpected outage in Pueblo combined with hot weather and heavy air conditioner usage.

But Talarico said he had no idea that he could be locked out of the thermostat.

Does anyone think that liberals will be satisfied for long with voluntary measures? If they get their way, and fitful wind and solar play a larger role in our energy system, “emergencies” will inevitably multiply as utilities try to minimize blackouts. In the end, the only way to keep the rickety system functioning will be by shutting off your air conditioning or your heat.

Watch for it: along with blackouts, loss of control over your own home is coming your way, if you allow it.

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