You know that you should cut back on your electricity use. Energy waste costs money that you don’t have, you’re generating carbon emissions, your energy company might cause nasty pollution. Despite all the environmental guilt piled on by every teacher, NPR podcast and PBS broadcast since the dawn of the nineties, we all waste energy.
But what if you could reduce electrical waste, save money, and earn beer money in the process? Would you do it? A company called OhmConnect is making that a reality in California. We explain how OhmConnect works and how you can cash in.
Buying Credits To Balance A Load
Energy companies don’t like using less efficient power plants because they aren’t cost effective, and they make it harder for the company to comply with pollution regulations. Because of that, California’s energy companies are actually willing to pay consumers not to use energy during peak energy demand.
Of course, energy companies can’t make contracts with every individual household to buy back energy. That's where OhmConnect comes into the picture. OhmConnect is a “big data” company that harnesses information to save energy and make money. In fact, their company won the U.S. Department of Energy’s American Energy Data Challenge.
Their algorithms monitor energy use on a minute by minute basis. When energy use approaches peak loads (where the less efficient power plants come online), they start taking action.
Here’s How Their Actions Work
- OhmConnect alerts you during peak loads. Notice can come anywhere from one day to five minutes in advance.
- You participate in “Ohm Hours” by intentionally reducing energy consumption for about one hour. This means shutting off the TV, lights, dishwasher, dryer and more.
- OhmConnect sells your reduced energy consumption back to the grid who pays OhmConnect for the reduction.
- OhmConnect retains 20% of the profit and passes 80% of it back to you. The points you earn can get cashed out through paypal.
The key to making money from OhmConnect comes from understanding the OhmHour.
OhmConnect wants their user base to reduce energy consumption during unexpectedly high load periods. They call those periods “OhmHours.”
When an OhmHour goes into effect, you want to cut back energy use as far as possible from your baseline energy use. That means turning off your TV, shutting off lights, killing the washer and dryer etc. Hardcore Ohm users typically leave the house during Ohm hours because they want to reduce energy as much as possible.
How does OhmConnect determine whether or not you saved energy? They calculate your home’s average energy consumption on 10 weekdays or 4 weekend days prior to OhmHour. Your average consumption is your baseline. If you reduce energy consumption below your baseline, you earn points. Each point is worth one cent. If you reduce energy more than 20% below your baseline you earn double points. Reduce energy by 40% below your baseline you earn quadruple points.
How Much Can I Earn from OhmConnect?
Using OhmConnect isn't a super lucrative side hustle.
But, If you’re a California resident who gets their utilities from PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, you can earn beer money from it. Below we’ve outlined ways to maximize income from OhmConnect.
Make The Most Of OhmHours
If you reduce your energy consumption during OhmHours, you can expect to earn around 10-30 points per OhmHour. Over the course of the year, that means you’ll earn about $10. Not too exciting. But you can boost your earnings using these “hacks.”
- Connect your smart home devices to OhmConnect: You earn 300-500 points per device (that’s $3-$5 per device), and OhmConnect automatically reduces consumption for you during OhmHours.
- Put your fridge on a smart plug: One of the biggest energy hogs in the house are fridges and freezers. Put these on a smart plug, hook it up to OhmConnect, and you’re virtually guaranteed to reduce electricity during an OhmHour.
- Get on a streak: You can earn 25%+ more points by consistently reducing energy during OhmHours. Once you earn points in 3 OhmHours in a row, you’re on a streak and your points increase.
- Level Up: Ohm Users get points (up to 5,000) by increasing their level from silver to gold and gold to platinum. Most people who take OhmConnect seriously achieve the platinum level within a year.
If you take care of these “hacks”, you can expect to earn around $100-$200 per year. Some users reported earning as much as $350 in their first year by participating in “Mega OhmHours” which are OhmHours with almost no advance notice.
Get Crazy With Referrals
As an OhmConnect user, you can get a unique referral code. If your friends signup for OhmConnect, and they reduce their energy use during one OhmHour, you earn a 2000 point bonus. That’s a $20 signup bonus!
One Reddit user earned over $2000 through the referral bonus system, and other users said they earned a few hundred dollars.
Get paid via PayPal
Once you earn at least 1,000 points ($10), you can cash out your points via PayPal. You can also use your points to buy $20 giftcards for the OhmConnect store. OhmConnect has a variety of smart plugs, home thermostats, etc. to help you reduce your consumption further.
Final Thoughts on OhmConnect
If you're in California, it makes sense to sign up for OhmConnect.
It’s a great tool to help you become more energy (and financially) conscious. You’re not likely to earn a ton from OhmConnect, but you don’t lose anything by signing up.
Participants outside of California won’t see the same benefit as Californians. Outside of California, you can earn referral bonuses and connect smart devices to OhmConnect, but you can’t earn points during OhmHours. Instead of points, you earn tokens that you can use to enter into drawings for prizes. To earn tokens you have to manually log in to report your energy reduction activities.
Instead of using OhmConnect, focus on saving money on your utilities year round.
Have you ever heard of OhmConnect?