The ever-evolving grid, and why your rewards are changing this summer

As the energy market changes, so do we. For big rewards, focus on your status!

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By
Sophie Lubin
-
May 27, 2020

Remind me how OhmConnect’s business works

The energy market is complicated, but like most financial systems, it boils down to supply and demand. On the supply side, we have big power plants, wind farms, solar panels, and other things that produce electricity. On the demand side, we have people and businesses turning things on like air conditioners, lights, refrigerators, and all the other things that power our everyday lives. 

Usually, these two sides are balanced. What happens when they’re not? 

Let’s say it’s a hot day, and people are using more energy than expected. The grid faces a decision: turn on additional power plants or somehow reduce demand? 

That’s when OhmConnect steps in. We shift the energy use in hundreds of thousands of homes, so those additional power plants never need to turn on. Supply and demand stay balanced.

The grid pays OhmConnect as if we’re a power plant, and we then pass along the proceeds to our community of energy-savers. That’s how OhmConnect makes money and how we can pay you. 

What’s changing this summer

This summer you’ll notice a few changes to how you get rewarded. 

  • Status is king! Your status is now the biggest driver of your rewards. Gold, Platinum, and Diamond users will now see 6x, 10x, and 12x point multipliers, respectively. 
  • Status is determined based on your last 5 eligible #OhmHours, making it easier and faster to level up.
  • MEGA #OhmHours continue to pay more than regular #OhmHours, now through higher base points. 
status widget with new reward structure this summer
Your status now offers bigger point multipliers. This customer is so close to reaching Platinum and earning 10X points!

Why did these changes happen?

As the grid evolves, we have to evolve with it.

Due to a variety of policy and market changes, the grid no longer values inconsistent participation. Now what matters most is reliable energy reductions every time there’s an #OhmHour.

This is why you may notice a reduction in base points for each individual #OhmHour. On the flip side, the grid has increased the value of consistent reductions and savings, which is why OhmConnect has increased the value of your status multipliers. We want to ensure our high-status users continue to enjoy the same earnings potential. 

And for all you Silver users, we have some exciting ways to help you reach Gold status and beyond, so you can continue to earn during #OhmHours.

How the Energy Markets are Shifting

As California installs more renewable and variable resources, the grid has continued to struggle to balance the supply (energy that’s available) and demand (people using it). OhmConnect works closely with grid operators (CAISO), regulatory agencies such as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Energy Commission (CEC), and other stakeholders to ensure that when you reduce electricity, you are rewarded for your efforts -- and that those rewards align with how the grid works and pays us too. Please visit our Regulatory Advocacy page for more details.

In the past year, the grid has shifted how it values energy reductions. Between 2016 to 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) rewarded us for large energy reductions during key times, like MEGA #OhmHours. The requirements for us to meet our contractual obligations (via the program known as the Demand Response Auction Mechanism or DRAM) rewards entities like OhmConnect (called Demand Response Providers or DRPs) for their "maximum hourly performance”.

However, the CPUC and the market operator (CAISO) have gradually shifted to emphasize DRPs that are "used and useful.” As a result, individual events are valued less, and consistent reductions are valued more. The change we have made for this summer reflect this shift: by placing higher emphasis on status levels and less reward on single events. 

jar full of coins

What can I do to earn more?

You’re in luck because you’ve never had the potential to earn more with OhmConnect than this summer. 

  • Status: along with the status multiplier increase, we’ve reduced the lookback period of your status to just five events. That means it’s faster than ever to amp up your earnings.
  • AutoOhms: automatically earn points when your devices respond in real-time to short 15-minute events. It’s all behind the scenes, and you never need to lift a finger. 
  • OhmSmart: we’ve made it even easier for you to automate your home through a low-priced smart plug subscription. Power on (or off)!
  • MEGA #OhmHours: keep your eyes peeled for MEGA #OhmHours. They’re a little different than last year, but continue to pay big rewards when you head into MEGAs with Gold or higher status. 
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