Retail energy provider TXU Energy is helping to keep Texas electricity rates and demand low by providing its customers with smart thermometers that can be remotely controlled to lower a customer's energy consumption, the San Marcos Mercury reports.

According to the news source, TXU customers sign up to participate in the company's energy conservation program, known as demand response, which allows the energy provider to raise a customer's thermostat by as much as 4 degrees for intervals of 15 minutes.

By doing so, TXU can greatly reduce grid strain, ultimately lowering the chance of costly rolling blackouts. Already, tens of thousands of people have signed up for TXU's program, said director of product innovation Jennifer Pulliam. Although that is only a small portion of the energy provider's 1.8 million customers, it still sheds as much as 50 megawatts during peak demand periods, the media outlet stated.

Business who have enrolled in such programs have also found that it can be an easy way to generate secondary revenue. Often, electric providers give financial rewards for the amount of energy that is curtailed during energy events.