Summer 2022 was miserable and hot for many Americans. It’s just one of those years when one truly appreciates the comfort provided by something as simple as an air conditioning unit. How did we live without them?
A strange message flashed on thermostats for 22,000 Colorado Xcel Energy customers. It indicated that their thermostats had lost the ability to control the temperature at home.
KMGH TV reports that the message “Energy Emergency” was flashed on thermostats during extreme temperatures. Customers of Xcel tried to stop the temperature rises by turning off their A/C.
The temperature slider was temporarily frozen due to an energy crisis that may have an effect on the local grid.
Thousands of Xcel customers locked out of thermostats during ‘energy emergency’ https://t.co/QpZLxRBCoy
— SemperFidelity (@semper_fidelity) September 1, 2022
Customers who signed up for the “program”, were unaware that they would lose control of their ability to cool off during heat waves.
According to KMGH TV Talarico said that “normally when we see a comparable message, we can override it.” “In this case, we weren’t, and we set our thermostat at 78 or 79”.
Talarico explained that an emergency is when life and limb are at risk. According to the news outlet, some homes reached alarming levels of 88 degrees.
It was a nightmare.
What was the “emergency” Xcel used to take control of customers’ homes? It seems reasonable to suppose that a large energy company would be prepared for the heat of summer heat.
Talarico wasn’t the only one outraged. Many Xcel customers took to social media to express their dismay at the situation.
One Twitter user stated, “CO is as good…just had my first taste of Green Control yesterday…recently had a brand-new AC installed…with a fancy smart thermostat…the power company (Xcel), lowered my thermostat to 78 yesterday afternoon from 74. ”
Another Twitter user added: “Utility company manipulated me/us. When we signed up for subsidy coverage @XcelEnergy covered it. Then they forced customers to opt out by hiding a line within the fine print.
An Xcel executive spoke about his company’s first test of energy nanny statism. The statement was made to local media outlets, and then he blamed customers.
Emmett Romine, Vice President of Customer Solutions & Innovation at Xcel stated that the program is voluntary. Customers can also choose to take part in this program based on the incentive.
He stated, “So, it is beneficial for all to participate in these programs. It is not pleasant for a short time but it is extremely, very helpful.”
Romine’s “incentives”, as Romine calls them, are at best absurd. Xcel offers customers a $100 credit up front and $25 per annum as a reward.
Xcel customers now have the option to turn off their ability to heat and cool their homes for $25 per annum. The program is expected to be ended by all 22,000 people who were affected. Those with options will search for another energy provider.