Thousands of Xcel Customers LOCKED OUT of Thermostats During Heatwave to Conserve Energy in Colorado

22,000 customers in Colorado were locked out of their thermostats after they volunteered to be part of a group that allowed the Xcel Energy to take control of their thermostats to save energy. But the surprise they got was much more than they bargained for on Tuesday.

Xcel Energy Inc. is an American utility holding company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, serving more than 3.7 million electric customers and 2.1 million natural gas customers in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico in 2019.

We all know that when it’s hot, you want to get cool. But when thousands of Xcel customers in Colorado tried adjusting their thermostats Tuesday they learned they had no control over the temperatures in their own homes.

Temperatures soared into the 90s Tuesday, which is when customer Tony Talarico told Denver7 that he tried to crank up the air conditioning in his partner’s Arvada home.

“I mean, it was 90 out, and it was right during the peak period,” Talarico said. “It was hot.”

“That’s when he saw a message on the thermostat stating the temperature was locked due to an “energy emergency.”

“Normally, when we see a message like that, we’re able to override it,” Talarico said. “In this case, we weren’t. So, our thermostat was locked in at 78 or 79.”

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On social media, dozens of Xcel customers complained of similar experiences — some reporting home temperatures as high as 88 degrees.

Xcel confirmed to Contact Denver7 that 22,000 customers who had signed up for the Colorado AC Rewards Program were locked out of their smart thermostats for hours Tuesday.

“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” said Emmett Romine, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel.

Customers receive a $100 credit for enrolling in the program and $25 annually, but Romine said customers also agree to give up some control to save energy and money and make the system more reliable.

“So, 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,” said Romine.

This is the first time in the program’s six years that customers had no control and could not override their smart thermostats, Romine said.

He also stated the “energy emergency” was due to an unexpected outage in Pueblo combined with hot weather and heavy air conditioner usage.

Talarico said he had no idea that he could be locked out completely and have no control over his own thermostat in his own home.

“To me, an emergency means there is, you know, life, limb, or, you know, some other danger out there — some, you know, massive wildfires,” Talarico said. “Even if it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon situation, it just doesn’t sit right with us to not be able to control our own thermostat in our house.”

What are your thoughts America, how pissed off would you be if this happened to you?

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