Customers who signed up for a rewards program through Xcel Energy Electric Company found they were locked out of their smart thermostats Tuesday as temperatures rose into the 90s. The company confirmed that 22,000 customers who joined the company’s AC Rewards program were unable to lower their homes temperature below 78 degrees.

The rewards program allowed Xcel Energy to remotely control customer thermostats for a “convenient, energy-saving lifestyle with long-term benefits.” The Ac Rewards program says:

“By participating in AC Rewards, adjustments are made to your smart thermostat during the hottest summer days. When the demand for electricity is the highest, you’ll help us manage these peaks and ease the strain on the electrical grid. You’ll be cut back on the time your central air works to cool your home with control events.

Control events may occur anytime during the cooling season. You’ll have the ability to opt out of control events at any time and receive optional notifications of control events, either from your thermostat, mobile device, or web app. On rare occasions, system emergencies may cause a control event that cannot be overridden.”

Customers received a one-time credit of $100 and an annual credit of $25 for enrolling.

According to The Blaze, Emmett Romine, a Vice-President at Xcel, said the “energy emergency” was an unexpected outage in a nearby city, hot weather, and high A/C usage. Defending the companies decision by saying,

“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” Romine told KMGH. “It helps everybody for people to participate in these programs. It is a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, but it’s very, very helpful.”


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