SJCE is proud to be a part of OhmConnect’s City Energy Challenge this summer. To help prevent blackouts, OhmConnect is partnering with California cities to give away up to 1 million smart thermostats. Installing 1 million smart thermostats can save 680 megawatts (MW) of energy — or nearly twice the shortfall that caused rolling blackouts in August 2020.
OhmConnect is a Bay Area-based demand response provider that pays California residential customers to decrease their electricity usage a few hours per week during “OhmHours.” It’s free to sign up and participate in their program, and the amount you make is based on the amount of energy you save. Compensation multiplies with each smart device you connect, including smart thermostats.
Through September 30, SJCE customers enrolling in OhmConnect’s program can choose to receive a free smart thermostat or two smartplugs plus $25 from OhmConnect. There is also the option to not receive any freebie and simply enroll in the program. Customers receiving devices must install and connect them to wi-fi within 30 days, and OhmConnect can provide installation support over the phone. During energy saving events, OhmConnect can automatically adjust customers’ thermostats or smart plugs to help them save energy. Customers are given 24 hours advance notice of an OhmHour and are able to opt out if they do not wish to participate. Otherwise, customers are encouraged to unplug or not use devices and appliances.
So how does it work? OhmConnect bundles its customers’ reduced demand and sells it into CAISO’s energy attributes markets. In addition to helping improve grid reliability, demand response programs help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity. Natural gas peaker plants have typically been utilized to help meet periods of peak demand; reducing load at this time through demand response reduces reliance on fossil fuels.
San José is one of many California cities participating in OhmConnect’s City Energy Challenge. The California city that connects the highest percentage of residents to OhmConnect’s platform by September 30 will win 10 $5,000 scholarships for its residents and the coveted title of “Energy Saving Superhero.”