Looks like California has put its Big Thermostat plans on ice. For now:
State officials have ditched a plan to require remote-controlled thermostats in homes and businesses.
Regulators instead will work with utilities on possible voluntary programs by which customers could request such devices, California Energy Commission spokeswoman Claudia Chandler said Tuesday.
New building-efficiency standards drawn up by the commission would have required new buildings to include remote-controlled thermostats that could allow utilities to control a building’s air-conditioning or heating during power emergencies.
After a public outcry, commission officials last week said the regulation would be revised so that the devices would still be required, but configured so that customers could override outside control by utilities.
But the agency backed off even more this week by announcing that the proposed remote-controlled thermostats would be dropped entirely from the 2008 edition of the building-efficiency standards.
The news was applauded by the head of the state Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce, Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys.
“While more needs to be done to keep up with the needs of our ever-increasing population, it’s not the job of the (state) to go into peoples’ homes and control their thermostats,” he said.
Thomas Lifson warns that the battle isn’t over:
This is not a complete victory, to be sure. But at least for now, the energy mandarins say they respect the importance of Californians making their own decisions. Thanks to all those in the blogosphere, talk radio, and especially those concerned citizens who voiced their protest to the California Energy Commission.