Texans have an intimate relationship with their thermostat come summertime. But for those with smart thermostats who’ve opted into energy saving plans, that relationship might sour a bit this year.
Tech expert Omar Gallaga say some of smart thermostats can be controlled by more than just the homeowner if given certain permissions.
“The power company might also be granted access to these so they can actually get in there and change the temperature if you allow them to. And what some of the energy companies are doing is offering rebates or special offers if you give them access to raise the temperature of your thermostat at peak hours. This is going to conserve energy,” he told Texas Standard.
But some customers are finding it a little uncomfortable with how much the temperature is being raised, even if it’s just four or five degrees. He says that some customers aren’t even fully aware of what they signed up for to get these rebates, or they might have bought a subsidized thermostat through the electric company not realizing external access to the temperature control was part of the deal.
In most instances, customers can manually override outside of control of a thermostat. Still, he said “the idea of an outside entity controlling it freaks some people out.”
As more smart devices are introduced into homes, Gallaga says the increased connectivity can be overwhelming for a consumer.
“It’s hard to keep track of what all these things are doing at any given time,” he said. “So I think some of the complaints and some of the frustration people are having is just not feeling that they have control over their smart homes, that these things are getting a little bit too autonomous.”