ecobee partners with San Diego Gas and Electric to alleviate California's power woes

While I am sure California is a nice place to live, it sure does seem like it has many problems. Not only does the state suffer from earthquakes, droughts, rampant homelessness, and wildfires, but increasingly, it is struggling to meet the electricity needs of its citizens. After all, as temperatures go up from global warming, more and more people will turn on air conditioners.

Thankfully, smart thermostats have the ability to alleviate some of these power consumption woes. You see, not only are these connected devices convenient, they can be controlled by the power companies during power usage spikes. With your permission, the power company can adjust your air conditioning slightly so that blackouts and brownouts can hopefully be prevented. Sometimes you will even be compensated for participating in such a thing.

Yes, this means you might be a bit warmer than you'd like, but it sure beats having no electricity at all, right? Critics will say it is an invasion of privacy and creepy, and maybe it is, but it is for the good of the whole -- and totally optional if you are using your own connected thermostat and not one rented from the power company. Keep in mind, you can always buy a "dumb" thermostat if you dislike having your AC connected to the internet.

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With all of that said, popular thermostat-maker ecobee has partnered with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) to help alleviate California's ongoing electricity problems. While just a pilot program for now, if it proves successful, it could be rolled out more widely. And yes, customers can absolutely opt out of participating.

"In the event of an emergency, eligible ecobee customers in SDG&E’s service territory will receive a notification when slight, temporary temperature adjustments are needed on their ecobee smart thermostats to reduce demand and help avoid an outage. Customers can help their community by remaining opted into the program or they can skip the event if they’re unable to take part," says ecobee.

Kari Binley, the company's Senior Manager of Energy Partnerships adds, "At ecobee, we remain committed to offering innovative smart home solutions that address real problems customers are facing, such as the rise of power outages due to the prevalence of extreme weather brought on by climate change. We’re excited to launch this new and innovative solution with SDG&E, which will allow more ecobee Smart Owners in California to help their communities and automatically conserve energy without sacrificing their comfort, all while helping to create a more resilient power grid."

Would you participate in such a program if it meant preventing blackouts in your state? Are people unwilling to participate simply selfish? Please tell me in the comments below.

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