California Slightly Backs Down On Thermostat Issue
Last week, I posted about California’s proposed Big Brother Thermostat proposal, where they were planning to mandate that all new thermostats allowed the state utility companies to shut off your A/C if it was an “emergency”. They’ve backed down on this one, but only slightly:
As initially proposed, these programmable thermostats would have deferred in emergencies to a radio signal from utilities, wresting control from customers.
After public protests, Chandler said the commission staff has suggested letting customers choose whether to accept the emergency control.
“The consumer or customer can override the emergency control,” with the change, Chandler said.
However, the thermostat will still include a radio control component that utilities could use with consumers’ consent. That component will be a mandatory part of the thermostat, which can’t be removed by the consumer.
Critics say they fear that requiring new homes to include a radio-controlled thermostat will make it easier to enforce mandatory controls later.
Fundamentally, nothing has changed. They still have decided to take control of your thermostat, and I think the critics’ point is quite valid. This isn’t the end of the road. When major power grabs don’t work, you take minor power grabs. The destination doesn’t change, only the length of the step.
What I said last week doesn’t change. If you get stuck with one of these thermostats, disable it. And even though they’ve softened their position, you should still contact your representative. We all know that this is but one step on a defined path for the regulators, and it is still important to let them know you’re not fooled.