SACRAMENTO, Calif. - According to the California Energy Commission (CEC), programmable communicating thermostats (PCTs), originally included in the proposed 2008 energy efficiency building standards, have been removed. Instead, regulators said they plan to work with utilities on possible voluntary programs by which customers could request such devices, according to Claudia Chandler, CEC spokeswoman.

The 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 initially revised the regulation so that the devices would still be required, but configured so that customers could override outside control by utilities. The CEC, however, backed off even more, announcing that the proposed remote-controlled thermostats would be dropped entirely from the 2008 edition of the building-efficiency standards.

“The Energy Commission strongly supports demand response strategies and believes that the programmable communicating thermostat offers a valuable tool to dampen peak electricity use. Demand response strategies are an important alternative to building costly new power plants that only operate during peak demand times of the year,” stated the CEC. “Technology can be a powerful tool in managing our energy use. However, it is of utmost importance that consumers make their own energy decisions.”

For more information, visit

Publication date:01/28/2008