One of the most common questions we get asked is how an #OhmHour baseline is calculated. Learn the ins and outs to maximize your earnings.
Forecast. If you’ve been with OhmConnect for a while, you’ve probably seen this term before. You have also probably wondered at some point, “What exactly is a forecast?” This week’s blog post will demystify your forecast and show how OhmConnect uses it to calculate your #OhmHour points.
At its most basic, your forecast is an average. It represents how much electricity you are expected to use during an #OhmHour and is calculated using your historical smart meter data.
For example, if an #OhmHour occurs on Thursday from 2 – 3PM, OhmConnect averages your usage from 2 – 3pm from the previous ten weekdays. If this #OhmHour occurred on Saturday or Sunday, your usage during the most recent 4 weekend days are used. (After all, your usage during a weekday while you’re at work is likely quite different from while you’re at home on a Sunday evening.)
Let’s take a look at a visual representation of an imaginary #OhmHour on Wednesday, 8/17 from 2 – 3PM.
Your forecasted average would be 2.45 kWh.
Based on this information, your goal for this particular #OhmHour is to reduce your energy use below 2.45 kWh from 2 – 3pm. The more you reduce, the more points you will earn. If you use more electricity and didn’t opt-out of the event — let’s say you use 3 kWh instead — you may incur a minor penalty.
Previous #OhmHour participation is also taken into account for your forecast. If you participated in an #OhmHour during any of the days used to calculate your forecast, that day will not be factored into the average. This is done to prevent you from having an unfairly low forecast, since you were saving more energy than normal. Holidays are understandably excluded from the calculation for a similar reason. In these cases, OhmConnect pulls the next most recent day’s data.
Keep in mind that if your utility is missing meter data from the preceding days, OhmConnect won’t be able to calculate your forecast and therefore award points. When this happens, you may see #OhmHours listed as “TBD” until the data arrives.
The points you earn during an #OhmHour are calculated by subtracting your actual usage from your forecast and multiplying that amount by the price of the event. The price for #OhmHours vary by location and time, so you should expect your earnings to vary greatly from #OhmHour to #OhmHour.
Your actual usage, like your forecast, comes from the meter data your utility sends us. We generally receive it within 48 hours but sometimes it is delayed and sometimes it gets restated. We’re just as frustrated as you are if your utility delays sending us the data, so please reach out to our team if you experience an undue delay.
You can see the detailed forecast and event data that went into calculating your results by clicking on the points in the circle for each #OhmHour.
In addition to the base points earned during the event, you may benefit from the following bonuses which will be included on the points you see in your #OhmHour Performance numbers:
To see the breakdown of base points, status level bonus, and streak bonus for any of your #OhmHours, you can download your point history as CSV file from the link on the bottom right corner of the #OhmHour Performance section of the dashboard.
The grid and the CAISO (the financial entity that operates the grid) expects #OhmHours to have a positive impact and a certain reduction in electricity use. When an #OhmHour doesn’t deliver the expected results, we incur significant financial penalties.
This is why negative points are applied to events which you don’t save energy and you don’t opt-out. The financial penalty that we receive is passed along to users who drag on the #OhmHours overall energy savings.
Rest assured, you can always opt-out of every event, which lets us know we shouldn't count on your reduction. You will not earn or lose points for events you opt-out of. And, if you consistently save during #OhmHours, you’ll see a significant increase in your total points awarded moving forward. (Note: If you opt out of an #OhmHour, you will break your streak.)
Now that you know how #OhmHours are measured, you can take steps towards saving even more energy. Want to do a deeper dive into your personal energy usage data? It is always available to you within your utility providers online portal. For the true buffs out there, devices can be rented or purchased to measure how much power your devices use at any given time.