California Man Hacked His Energy Bill - Now He EARNS Almost $500 Per Month!

He unplugs for a few hours every month, and gets paid big bucks for his energy savings. You can too!

San Diego resident John Hastie is a smart man.

He has a technology degree in operations research and is the type of person who can rattle off a math equation while solving it even faster in his head.

He’s also extremely interested in renewable energy — relying largely on solar panels to power his house. He also drives an electric car.

Combining his two passions, he’s discovered a way to get paid up to $487 a month for saving energy.

Thanks to some well-thought-out strategy and a little bit of smart home technology, the New Zealand native earned nearly $2400 in a single year by saving energy with OhmConnect - and that’s without any money earned for referrals.

How he gets paid to save energy

A few years back, Hastie came across an online service called OhmConnect. It claimed to reward consumers in cash and prizes for reducing their energy consumption during specific times, called #OhmHours.

The #OhmHours occur when the energy grid is overworking and must rely on dirty power plants to prevent a brownout. Those power plants aren't great for the environment, so that’s why it’s important to cut back. #OhmHours typically occur once or twice a week in the afternoons or evenings.

OhmConnect users are notified via text or email when there’s an upcoming #OhmHour. That’s when they can take steps to reduce their energy usage by waiting to run the dishwasher, unplugging the Keurig, turning off the fridge or switching the A/C off - just for the #OhmHour.

Aside from helping the environment by cutting back on your energy usage, OhmConnect will reward you for how much you save.

The more you save, the more points (or cash) you earn.

OhmConnect’s dashboard lets you monitor your forecasted energy usage and energy savings and compares it against your actual usage during an #OhmHour.

Starting small before the payments added up

But it hasn’t always been as easy or as profitable as it is for him now.

“I remember my very first #OhmHour - I got 57 points. It was only 57 cents, but I kept doing them just to play along,” he explained. “Then, in the beginning of 2017, the formula changed and status levels and streaks came into play. That’s when I delved a bit deeper into it and figured out that if I could keep saving for every #OhmHour, my bonus was going to increase and I had the chance to do really well.”  

And to say he’s doing well is an understatement.

Here’s exactly how much money Hastie makes saving energy

Hastie keeps a spreadsheet to track his usage and savings, and was willing to share the exact amount of earnings he’s collected from OhmConnect savings in a single year:

  • In January, he earned $1.69
  • In February, he earned $26.99.
  • In March, he earned $29.59.
  • In April, he earned $96.87.
  • In May, he earned $225.13.
  • In June, he earned $487.52.
  • In July, he earned $228.40.
  • In August, he earned $306.44
  • In September, he earned $121.83
  • In October, he earned $428.71
  • In November, he earned $236.56
  • In December, he earned $127.77

In June of 2017, Hastie explains, the state of California had a two-hour Flex Alert, a request for all consumers to conserve. OhmConnect offered to pay triple the normal #OhmHour payout, so he banked $188 in those two hours.

His winning formula (plus tricks you can steal for yourself!)

Hastie has experimented with his OhmConnect dashboard for months now and devised a strategy that earns him the most money.

He lives with one other person, a cat and a dog in a 2200 square foot home, so he’s proving to folks who’ve doubted him that big earnings with OhmConnect are not only for those with huge houses and sky-high energy bills. To reach the level of earnings he’s achieved, Hastie is strategic about the timing of his energy usage and uses status levels and streaks to his advantage.

For example, he’s added smart plugs to his TV and fridge, which now automatically shut off off during #OhmHours. He’s also connected his smart thermostat to OhmConnect, so it works the same way.

He treats OhmConnect like a game. Each month, he attempts to drive down his energy usage during #OhmHours to rack up more and more points and to cash out even more money. Which appliances consume the most energy? Can he add more smart plugs? How many bonuses can he hit?

“What I like about it is I want to save as much as I can, and I try to have a new record each time,” he says.

His #OhmHour success strategy looks like:

  • Never missing an #OhmHour. He’s at a streak of 102 and a large portion of his points come from his streak bonus.
  • Achieving a high status, and quickly. A diamond status (earned when you can consistently save more than 80% during #OhmHours) gets you 12x the points during each event.
  • 10 smart plugs, all of which are connected to his OhmConnect account and turn off automatically when an #OhmHour is called
  • Strategically timing the cooling of his house during summer months and the charging of his electric vehicle around #OhmHours
  • Focusing his energy on the summer months when the need (and payoff!) is greater.
As an OhmConnect user, John has a unique referral code that will score him $20 for anyone who signs up on his team. Want to give John a virtual high five to say thanks for sharing his story? Sign up on his team!
Katie Overmonds

Katie is an award-winning journalist and digital strategist with more than 10 years of experience in print and digital media and a passion for the environment and fighting climate change.

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