How OhmConnect Works - What are OhmHours and AutoOhms?

So you’ve signed up for OhmConnect because you heard you could get paid for using smart devices. But right about now you might be wondering … How does it actually work? And what’s this OhmHour thing you keep hearing about?

OhmHours and AutoOhms are energy saving events, usually an hour in length (but sometimes more or less), in which OhmConnect has committed to the grid that our members (you!) will save energy.

In short: The OhmHour and AutoOhms are where the magic happens.

How OhmHours and AutoOhms Help Communities

Map of California  showing how an OhmHour works

To understand OhmHours, it helps to know a little bit about the electricity grid:

Most of the time, the energy market accurately predicts how much energy will be needed in a given region. But sometimes, people use more energy than forecasted, which means the grid will turn on a “fast-acting power plant” to balance the system.

Map of California  showing how an OhmHour works

While they may be quick and effective, these fast-acting power plants are terrible for the planet and our pocketbooks. They’re very expensive to operate, and they use fossil fuels pretty inefficiently. (On average, they produce 2 - 3x the carbon emissions that a typical power plant generates. That pollution spews out into the surrounding neighborhoods.)

By participating in an OhmHour or AutoOhm, you are helping your community avoid turning on dirty, expensive peaker plants.

An energy consumption chart explaining what an OhmHour is

The best part about all of this is that the folks running the electric grid would rather pay people to use less electricity rather than pay a power plant to turn on. Your household electricity reductions are sold back into the grid, a dirty power plant stays off, and we pass those earnings on to you. The grid stays balanced, less pollution is emitted, and best of all, it's people who get paid instead of power plants. It’s a win-win-win!

Map of California  showing how an OhmHour works

What should I do when I receive an OhmHour notification?

It goes a little something like this:

  • blue, round icon with a check mark in the middle
    Receive a notification via SMS text or email, whichever you’d prefer.
  • blue, round icon with a check mark in the middle
    Reduce your energy use. Turn off your lights, unplug and let your smart thermostat go into eco mode. Best yet, connect your most energy hogging appliances (like refrigerators and air conditioners) to smart plugs so they can be powered down automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
  • blue, round icon with a check mark in the middle
    Get rewarded. We measure how much energy you save and sell it back to the grid, passing the profit on to you.

How often do OhmHours and AutoOhms happen?

Both AutoOhms and OhmHours are ways for you to get paid for saving energy, but they’re slightly different.

OhmHours happen when the grid predicts an energy surge in the next 24 hours. AutoOhms happen when the grid is experiencing a surge in energy right now. -- so you may only receive a 15-minute warning.

That’s why it’s crucial to use connected devices, like a smart thermostat or smart plugs, and link them to OhmConnect so they can automatically power down.