How we make money, so you can too
OhmConnect recently relaunched our program (along with a brand new look and feel!) and it feels like a good time to revisit the economics of our business and pull back the curtain so you, our valued customers, can know what it is we’re trying to accomplish, how the business works and how you can earn maximum rewards. In particular, we want to explain how some of the State’s regulatory changes have impacted how we reward customers. Let’s dive in!
In short, OhmConnect acts as what we call a ‘virtual power plant’ because the most efficient power is the power we don’t use.
When there’s extreme demand on the energy grid (like when temps soar and everyone has their air conditioners on blast), the state of California can either:
OhmConnect offers an alternative (and we think better) option: pay everyday Californians to use less power when it matters most. Instead of paying for that dirty power plant, the state pays you, our hundreds of thousands of community members who conserve energy at critical times.
First, some context: OhmConnect is still a startup, the energy markets don’t yet fully value the energy we reduce, and the rules we operate in keep changing.
However, it is already clear that we are helping California (and the world) get to a cleaner electricity grid and the virtual power plant we are building will be increasingly valuable. The process of how we get paid changes a bit from year-to-year, but it generally boils down to two parts.
In short, we pay many of our top performing customers (hello Diamond and Platinum folk!) more than we get actually paid for their energy reductions. How can we afford this?
Every year so far, our customers have become better at saving energy. We are giving you some of the benefit of that improvement even before we get paid for it. In short, we are investing in our customers. We are counting on our customers to keep improving, and for the energy markets to more accurately value your energy reductions. We are willing to pay our best customers more than we get paid today because we are confident that in the near future we can make up the difference as we all get better at consistently reducing energy during events.
We are also working to provide different ways to redeem your Watts - smart home devices, prizes, donations and the new Wheel. These new reward options will be fun, help you get better at saving energy in the future and give you lots of new ways to be rewarded.
Pro tip: Some of the best “value” for your Watts will be in the Wheel, devices and prizes. For example, many of our partners are making their products available through our store at heavy discounts you can’t find anywhere else.
Been with OhmConnect a long time? You may remember that we’ve made lots of changes over the years. These changes are mostly made because of changes in the State’s rules and regulations. For example, the State recently changed the rules so that single big reductions in energy use (we see you, circuit breaker flippers!) became less valuable than consistent reductions across all events which is most likely for someone with a smart thermostat and smart plugs to accomplish. You might remember our $5 flat payment for flipping off your circuit breaker a couple years ago? Now, we offer free and reduced price plugs and thermostats so everyone can automate their savings day in and day out. These changes are directly in response to changes in the way OhmConnect is paid.
While things may have changed, it’s still very possible (and pretty easy!) to earn great rewards with OhmConnect and we want to share the tips far and wide. Here’s how:
Installing a smart thermostat is a proven money maker. In fact, the average California utility customer will save more than $250 per year on their energy bill once they install a Google Nest thermostat! That’s why we now offer free and heavily subsidized thermostats and smart plugs in our store and the Rewards Marketplace. Automating your events maximizes your rewards with OhmConnect and can greatly reduce your energy bills.
And that’s it. By participating in OhmConnect either actively (we see you folks playing chess with a head lamp!) or passively (with your smart home devices adjusting ever so slightly in the background) you’re a critical part of the growing community of Californians dedicated to keeping the lights on for each other.