AUSTIN (KXAN) - On two of the hottest days of the year, Austin Energy increased the temperature inside the homes of customers who own a smart thermostat.
"I think they kicked it up to 78 or 80," said Michael Kaiser, who owns a Nest Thermostat.
Austin Energy set a year-end goal of 2000 customers who purchased a smart thermostat and offered an $85 rebate as incentive.
By the start of summer, that goal had been surpassed.
"The smart thermostat program has been wildly successful," said Carlos Cordova with Austin Energy.
Having an eligible thermostat allows AE to control how the temperature is set.
For the first time all summer, AE sent warnings to customers on Thursday and Friday to tell them they would be adjusting the temperature and giving them a time frame when it would happen.
Kaiser said his warning popped up both days on the thermostat's color display.
"It was giving me a heads up ahead of time. Both of them were expected to occur between 3:45 and 5:45."
Austin Energy expects to utilize the technology on 15 days this summer during peak hours when the energy grid is burdened.
A few degrees can help keep the energy grid from crashing and the interactive thermostats can also be a good investment for customers.
"It reduces emission and it reduces your bill," said Cordova.
Customers have the option of turning their thermostat back down if they are home at the time of the adjustment.
Jason Ballard, the vice president of TreeHouse, expects the smart thermostats to grow more popular during the summer.
"(Customers) are seeing a quick return," said Ballard.
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