Someone Is Controlling Texan’s Smart Thermostats Remotely
The temperature in the house was fine when they began an afternoon nap, when they woke up it was nearly 80 degrees and no one had touched the thermostat.
That's the story we're getting from multiple residents in the Houston area and the culprit seems to be a company called EnergyHub.
Brandon English told KHOU that when his wife and young children had decided to take an afternoon nap earlier in the day the house was fine, but when he got home from work it was nearly 80 degrees. With a 3 month old child in the house those quickly rising temperatures can just as quickly become medical issues, and it takes a while for even the best of air conditioning units to cool down a house when it's that warm.
What seems to be happening to the this and other families in Texas is that an outside company is accessing their smart thermostats and changing the temperature settings. Most of those saying that this has happened to them have enrolled in a program called 'Smart Savers Texas' through EnergyHub. Their agreement states that in exchange for entry into some sort of sweepstakes they authorize EnergyHub to adjust their thermostat settings remotely during periods of high energy demand. ERCOT had asked all Texans earlier in the week to conserve as much energy as possible as the projected demand was very close to the projected energy delivery available and EnergyHub determined that this was one of those situations.
Shortly after the change was discovered the Englishes found a text alert on their phone telling them that a three hour Energy Saving Event was active and that they could opt out by simply readjusting the temperature setting on their thermostat.
Then Englishes installed their smart thermostat as part of a home security upgrade a few years ago and hadn't even realized they had signed up for an outside source to be able to remotely access their thermostat.
Brandon English says the availability of smart home technology is a great thing, but sometimes it goes too far. He has already unenrolled from the program.