Texan owners of smart thermostats such as the Google Nest are getting very hot and bothered by local power companies’ opt-in, temporary energy efficiency modes, and they’re letting like-minded patriots know this injustice will not stand. As multiple outlets recently reported, programs like EnergyHub’s “Smart Savers Texas” encourage residents to consent to remote access of their home’s thermostats during periods of high energy demand in exchange for rewards such as sweepstakes entries and rebate payments, but not everyone is aware they opted-in.
Consumers like Houston area resident, Brandon English, were alarmed to learn they were enrolled in the program after his wife and small child awoke “sweating” from a nap to find their house’s temperature had risen to a whopping 78-degrees. An email sent to English’s wife alerted them that their home was part of a brief, three-hour “energy-saving event” as the region continues to struggle with overwhelming grid demands in the midst of historic heatwaves across the country.
Hmm, 78-degrees you say. That’s not exactly sweltering (especially compared to Houston’s outside temperature high over the weekend of *checks* 97-degrees), but it’s certainly warm enough to, like, kick off the blankets or turn on an overhead fan. We assume English was forced to navigate some Byzantine corporate hell in order to get out of this unpatriotic bind, right?
Ah. Well... okay. We hope the English family enjoys what, judging from the news video, is their totally normal, not-at-all detached from the realities of eco-collapse, resting home temperature of 72-degrees. We’ll just be over here, hoarding our precious fluids for the coming Water Wars.
Google isn’t off the hook by any stretch — Please don’t think that we’re on Team Google Overlord, though. There are still plenty of legitimate privacy concerns and corporate intrusions worth bearing in mind when using any of its products. Just recently, for example, Massachusetts residents reported the discovery of a COVID-19 contact tracing app force-installed onto their Android phones by Google. Although users apparently needed to manually opt-in to the Department of Public Health’s MassNotify system on their own, it still sounds like a headache to remove from devices, which is certainly no way to drum support for a truly useful program.
But still... look, we’re all gonna need to make some sacrifices in the coming years if we want to not reduce our planet to a burning crisp. A slightly warmer house should probably be the least of your worries right now.
Plus, you know, there’s the option to opt out. You won’t win the sweepstakes, but you won’t break a sweat either. You’ve simply got to decide which is more important to you.