Summer is in full effect in the Empire State and it has brought the heat right along with it. According to news reports from the BBC, we've already broken several records and have reached and beaten the hottest days ever on record in the world this month.
Before you kick that air conditioner into high gear for the season, make sure you take some of these important steps in your house to help make things a little bit more energy efficient, and of course save you a few bucks.
After you do those things, I guess that means you're ready to change that thermostat to cool mode and crank down the temperature. However, you want to make sure you're paying attention to what is happening in the energy markets.
Energy costs and usage across the state are expected to soar with the increased demand and utility officials are sure to try and take steps to keep usage under control.
National Grid is already asking people all over New York to voluntarily reduce their electric energy usage over the next several days to help prevent our power system from crashing.
But what happens if that's not enough?
In other states, some utility companies have taken some extreme measures, some of which include taking control of people's electronic and/or digital thermostats and locking them out of them.
Can The Government or a Utility Company Take Control Over Your Thermostat?
Believe it or not, some utility companies across the country have the ability to control your thermostat and you may have given them that power and you don't even know it.
That's what happened to more than 20,000 people in Colorado last year when a heatwave and energy shortage resulted in the local energy company locking thousands of Denver area residents out of their thermostats. When those folks went to turn on their air conditioners, they found out they had no control over the temperature in their house.
The people in question gave their energy company the ability to take control of their thermostats in exchange for a discount on their energy bills. Officials said that people signed up voluntarily, but it makes me wonder if it was explained to people that they could lose control over their heating and/or cooling systems.
Can This Happen In New York State?
Yes, it absolutely can!
New York State and every utility company in the state operate similar programs to the one described above.
According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, which is the state energy department, the Smart Thermostat Pilot program offers discounted energy prices and even free electronic thermostats at no cost in exchange for participating in their ConnectedSolutions Program.
ConnectedSolutions allows your smart thermostat to slightly adjust your home temperature and temporarily reduce energy use during peak energy events.
If you don't want to lose control over your thermostat like those folks in Colorado did, I would suggest you double and triple-check your energy bill to make sure you didn't inadvertently sign up for one of these programs. Because if you have, you may have given your utility company the ability to control and adjust your thermostat.
Hopefully, you won't be in for any surprises this year.