When I first learned about OhmConnect, I thought it was too good to be true. A company wants to pay me to conserve energy at home? How does that work out for OhmConnect? It turns out, utilities like PG&E and Southern California Edison are willing to pay their customers to lower their energy demand during peak times. Here's why.
How does OhmConnect make money?
Energy companies like PG&E generate power on a so-called grid. Some power comes from renewable sources like solar and wind, and other power comes from dirty and expensive power plants. The problem is, we tend to use more power from 5 pm - 9 pm. That's when we start cooking dinner, run the dishwasher, turn on the lights and start watching Netflix. All that takes power. But that's not when the sun shines and maybe the wind doesn't blow. So during those hours utilities often turn on dirty and more expensive power sources. This is where OhmConnect comes in.
OhmConnect lets it's users know that it's time to reduce our energy consumption at home. When we do, it saves the utility money which they, in turn, pass on to OhmConnect, who then passes it on to us. That makes conserving energy a win for you and me, OhmConnect, the utility, and ultimately it reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
How you use OhmConnect
Now that you understand how OhmConnect works, it's time to enroll. Don't worry, it's completely free to sign up, and it only takes a few minutes.
1.) Sign up
2.) Connect your SCE, PG&E & SDG&E account (it only takes two minutes)
3.) OhmConnect will text or email you when your energy is dirty and ask you to conserve energy for one hour between 5 - 9 pm.
4.) Conserve energy during that time (turn off some lights, wait to run the dishwasher, or maybe turn down the heat. Get creative and get the whole family involved).
5.) When you hit your goals with OhmConnect, you earn points and eventually a deposit into your PayPal account or an Amazon gift card.
That's it! So easy, right?
My OhmConnect review
Just in case you're curious about how the Kimber household is doing with OhmConnect, below are screenshots from our dashboard. As mentioned, we've only been using the service a few months, so we're still getting the hang of it, but we did reduce our load on the grid four out of five days and earned $11.
If I were to give an official review of OhmConnect, I'd give it ten out of ten stars. First, because it's so easy to use. Second, because it truly reduces your home's environmental footprint with minimal effort. Third, because it's always nice to make a little extra money.
How to get the whole family to conserve energy
Although the $11 we earned so far from OhmConnect isn't the reason we're doing it, the prizes are a fun way to get the whole family involved in conserving energy. My husband and I explained to the kids how OhmConnect works, so whenever it's our "power hour" (that's what we call it) then we power down as many devices and lights as we can. Then we check the dashboard the next day to see if we hit the goal.
My kids are 8 and 11 years old, so they vaguely understand the concept that conserving energy also helps slow climate change. Lowering our carbon footprint gets the kids excited. But most importantly, they like to win prizes (like Amazon gift cards). They're even excited just to see a new star in the dashboard. It's really the simple things that matter with kids, you know? 😉
So if you live in California and you're interested in conserving energy, OhmConnect is an easy and fun way to do just that.