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How We Get Paid (So You Can Get Paid, Too)

A look behind-the-scenes at the energy market, and what that means for OhmConnect as we grow (Spoiler: It’s all about just a handful of hours!)

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Curtis Tongue
November 5, 2018

It’s may sound hard to believe, but most of the household electricity costs in the U.S. are caused by our consumption during just a handful of hours throughout the year, when everyone’s using energy at the same time.

And while it’s always a good idea to conserve energy whenever you can (we’re thinking ahead to smart plugs attached to holiday lights!), those handful of important hours is when energy conservation is most critical. And that’s why OhmConnect is here — those intense hours are what we’re trying to solve for.

These are called ‘hours of peak demand’, and the most common culprits are the evening hours on hot summer days. These hours (when both businesses and homes are blasting air conditioning to keep cool) put major stress on the grid, increasing the risk of blackouts and brownouts — which as an OhmConnect user, you probably already know.

The part nobody talks about as much? These hours also significantly raise the year-round price of power for consumers.

According to a 2004 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, it can cost up to 10 times more to generate electricity during a summer afternoon compared to at night, and the top 100 highest priced hours account for 10 to 20 percent of electricity costs for the 8,766 hours in each year. Crazy, right?

Timing is everything

The good news is that programs like OhmConnect mean we don't need more costly (and dirty) power plants to fix the problem by just producing more energy; instead, we can rely on our collective community to reduce our demand for energy when the grid needs it most — like on those hot summer days.

This is why the opportunity to earn BIG rewards happened during MEGA Summer (some users were raking in more than $100 per #OhmHour!) and also explains why you might see the OhmConnect experience change slightly during the winter months with less frequent #OhmHours and reduced earnings per event.

While we would LOVE to continue paying out the size of rewards our users have grown accustomed to over the summer (so fun!), it simply doesn’t add up when the payments we’re receiving from utilities is so much smaller during the winter months.

So what does OhmConnect look like in the winter?

You might be wondering … what happens now? Well, the fun continues, that’s for sure — with a few small tweaks to ensure we can keep the lights on. (Ha!)

  • We’re maximizing efficiency and keeping your rewards as high as possible by limiting the number of cashouts to one per month. (Read more about that update here.)
  • We’re looking at ways to make our payments and your rewards better reflect the needs of the grid and enable long-term environmental impact. Stay tuned for more from us on this in the coming week! Some of those changes are happening in the next few days: with updates to streak bonuses and a new Diamond status for our highest reducers.
  • We’re keeping things fun in the slower months by introducing Prize #OhmHours! Every two weeks, we’ll be giving away prizes to randomly-selected Ohm’ers who beat their energy goal, refer a friend who reaches Silver status, or have one or more smart device power down during the event. “Like” our Facebook page to tune in to the prize announcements every other Sunday evening at 5 PM!
  • We’re scaling up our collective impact and setting our sights on a target of conserving 1 Gigawatt of energy — and when we do it, we’re going to give one lucky OhmConnect user $100,000. Find out more, here.

Really, there’s power in numbers!  

In the wake of the IPCC’s latest climate change report, we know that the collective efforts of the OhmConnect community are more important than ever.

This past summer alone, through our individual, relatively small efforts (doing things like unplugging electronics and dining by candlelight during #OhmHours) we were able to reduce demand on the energy grid by more than 500MWh. That’s the carbon equivalent of taking four dirty power plants off the grid.

As we grow, change and evolve, we look forward to continuing to be amazed with what we can accomplish together.

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