The bad news: California is in the midst of an intense heatwave. Just this week, the state’s grid operations, CAISO, called a Stage 1 Emergency—this means that power supply was not expected to be sufficient to meet demand—bringing back fears of another round of blackouts.
For those technically inclined, with below-average amounts of water to power hydro plants and shut downs of several larger gas power plants, the available electricity to serve consumers is tight during hot days this summer. Moreover, because of so much solar on the grid during the day, the biggest need for additional power is during the evening hours of hot days when solar power dissipates -- exactly the conditions that were envisioned to be mitigated by demand response programs like OhmConnect!
The good news: This is what OhmConnect was built for. OhmConnect’s vision is to stop blackouts or the turning on of dirty power plants by simply turning off your electricity at times of greatest grid stress. Our community has come up with a number of inspiring ways to reduce electricity - whether it is simply plugging in “smart” devices that turn off things like your refrigerator or A/C or scheduling your evening walk during the OhmHour - which has helped the grid when it has needed it most. And as a result? We have seen millions of dollars paid out to communities across California.
It is highly likely that the CAISO will be counting on us, the OhmConnect community, these next few days, to really come through for the grid and keep the power on across the state. Every action and every saving counts. Let’s do this together!
OhmConnect is a free service that will pay you to help save when the energy grid gets stressed. Instead of turning on another power plant, the OhmConnect community gets into action and saves as much energy as it can. These earning periods are called OhmHours and during this time, a participant’s job is to simply use less energy.
1. Sign up for OhmConnect and sync it with your online utility account through PG&E, SDG&E or SCE. You must have an online account with one of these electric companies to qualify. You can only get paid when you connect your online utility account, so this is an important step.
2. Receive energy usage notifications during “OhmHours” — high-energy-consumption hours that trigger dirty power plants to activate in order to support the overtaxed grid. This typically occurs once or twice a week in the afternoons or evenings via email or text message.
3. Head outside or at least turn the TV off until the OhmHour is up. Heck, you can even play mobile phone games during this hour — just resist plugging in any new electronics.
4. Profit! OhmConnect rewards you with cash for not contributing to the high demand that prompts unclean power sources to turn on.
So what are you waiting for? Be a climate hero this summer, AND get paid for your help.