Indiana Residents: Your Smart Thermostat is Slowly Making Your Home Hotter
We are in the middle of a heat wave here in the Evansville area, and if you have a smart thermostat in your home, it could be making it even hotter inside.
You are most likely running your air conditioner a lot right now. It's hot and humid outside and the last thing you want is for it to feel the same inside of your house. However, if you have a smart thermostat installed in your home, you might find that it isn't as cool inside as you'd like for it to be.
The culprit, your smart thermostat.
Why Your Smart Thermostat is Making Your House Hotter
If you have a smart thermostat, you know that it can be somewhat handy. For example, since that smart thermostat is connected to the internet, you can control the temperature settings in your house remotely. However, you might not be the only one controlling the temperature in your house.
Power companies all across the country are altering your smart thermostat controls, with your permission. You might not realize that you gave them permission, but if you signed up for smart savings programs that they offer that's exactly what you did. Before you jump to any conclusions, it is completely legal to do and power companies typically do that in the hot months when high power usage threatens the grid.
Here in southern Indiana, Center Point Energy has a program called Smart Cycle. You might be enrolled in it already. According to their website:
When summer temperatures climb, demand for electricity increases. The Smart Cycle program is designed to help reduce high electricity—or peak—demand. Reducing peak demand can help control costs for all customers long term.
With this program, customers will receive a $75 one-time bill credit after being accepted into the program and an additional $5 bill credit per device during the months of June through September for staying enrolled in the program. However, by enrolling you give the power company permission to mess with their thermostats during high-demand periods. Center Point Energy's website says:
Participants agree to brief, limited adjustments of their thermostats during peak electric demand periods from June 1 through September 30. Enrolled customers can anticipate at least one adjustment and a maximum of 15 adjustments per summer. Peak demand periods for adjustments typically occur on especially hot days. Adjustments will not occur on weekends or holidays.
Oh, and it's not just Center Point energy or whatever power company you use who can do this either. Tech companies that sell smart thermostats are even offering these types of programs. For example, Google's Nest offers the "Rush Hour Rewards" program. When you sign up for the program, you will receive a gift card, but it also lets power companies alter your temperature during peak usage months.
How To Stop Companies From Altering Your Temperature Settings
If you signed up for this program and aren't a fan of the temperature in your home being controlled by anyone other than yourself, you should call your power company to first make sure that you're enrolled. If you are, there are a couple of options that you have:
- You can opt out of an event at any time from your mobile device, web browser, or thermostat.
- You can also opt out simply by adjusting the temperature. When you opt out of the precool, you also are opting out of the temperature adjustment.
- If you want to unenroll in the program, you will have to contact your power company to do so. When it comes to Center Point Energy here in Southern Indiana, you can send an email to centerpoint-IN@energyhub.com, requesting to end your participation in the Smart Cycle program.