Next year in California, state regulators are likely to have the emergency power to control individual thermostats, sending temperatures up or down through a radio-controlled device that will be required in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages.
The proposed rules are contained in a document circulated by the California Energy Commission, which for more than three decades has set state energy efficiency standards for home appliances, like water heaters, air conditioners and refrigerators.
The changes would allow utilities to adjust customers' preset temperatures when the price of electricity is soaring. Customers could override the utilities' suggested temperatures. But in emergencies, the utilities could override customers' wishes.
Final approval is expected next month.