This Woman Found a Tool That Pays Her to Save Energy (She’s Made Over $6K)

Devonyu/Getty Images
Honest Abe

Disclosure:

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.

Back in October 2014, Kim McDermott put her husband Tom in charge of the house while she took a quick trip to Orlando, Florida.

“I’m like, dude, you can handle this. No kids; just fur babies,” she recalls telling him.

(What happens next isn’t his fault. It’s a total fluke.)

A few days into her trip, during a day at Disney World, McDermott received a phone call from her husband. He asked if they own a shop vacuum. Of course, McDermott inquired, Why the heck do you need a shop vacuum?

“There’s just a little bit of water in the house,” she remembers her husband explaining.

Well, it was more than a little. When her husband returned home from a 12-hour work shift, he found their four-bedroom, ranch-style house in Victorville, California, seeped in water.

Here’s what they figured out happened: The couple had recently adopted Sitka, a kitten. Sitka had a toy that became his pride and joy: a small ball, the size you’d golf with, adorned with a fuzzy tail. Because he couldn’t fit the ball in his mouth, he carried it around by the tail.

Well, while stalking around one day, Sitka accidentally dropped the toy in the master bathroom sink. The ball lodged into the drain, and he couldn’t get it out. While fumbling around, he somehow turned the sink turned on.

And so the water ran all day — into the bedroom, creeping into the home office and making its way out into the front living room.

Until Tom came home.

A few days later, Kim returned, and a clean-up company packed 20 year’s worth of the McDermott’s belongings away, and they moved into a hotel before settling into a friend’s home.

Additionally, Kim had to quit her out-of-town job to focus on fixing their house. (Plus, she’d been telling herself she’d give up the demanding gig soon, so now she counts the incident as a blessing.)

In January 2015, about three months later, the couple was finally able to move back into their home.

Although thankful for home insurance, the McDermotts were out $2,000 of income each month from Kim giving up her job — and they still faced a mound of existing debt.

OhmConnect Review: How the McDermotts Make Money

couple posing for picture at disney land

Kim McDermott, right, and her husband, Tom. Photo courtesy of Kim McDermott

For about a year, the McDermotts idled along, trying to find ways to pay what they owed, but it proved difficult. On a single income, the couple was living paycheck to paycheck.

Until one day in April 2016. That’s when Kim stumbled across something on Facebook called OhmConnect. It claimed to pay its users for reducing their energy usage.

“I don’t like to look stupid,” she says, so she did her research.

Through a friend who uses the platform, she learned that OhmConnect actually will pay you to reduce your energy. It partners with energy companies in California, Texas and Toronto* to get customers to reduce their energy usage during peak hours (when dirty power plants threaten to come on as backups). These hours are deemed #OhmHours.

OhmConnect users get notified of #OhmHours, which typically occur in the evenings when folks are getting home from work and the sun is setting. During that hour, the goal is to reduce energy by holding off on laundry, unplugging the Keurig or even flipping off the lights and taking a walk.

Users then get rewarded in points; 1,000 points equates to $10. They can also make money referring others to sign up.

Kim decided to sign up. At the time, the referral rules were $20 for the new user — and $20 for the friend who referred. Easy.

“Who doesn’t need 20 bucks?” she asks.

She didn’t cash out that first month, but continued to play with the platform. However, the next month she focused on referring more friends and reducing her energy.

Between the referrals and the #OhmHours, Kim made $86.78.

“That was great because I had a trip coming up in June, but then my husband’s car battery died,” she says. So they used the $87 to pay for a new one.

Fast forward to this year, and Kim started to see her earnings ramp up.

Now, most of her profit comes from referrals. She shares her OhmConnect link on her personal Facebook, as well as in various groups. She also uses tokens she earns on the platform to purchase “referral madness cards,” to amplify the points.

Additionally, she continues to participate in those #OhmHours. In July, her earnings solely based on #OhmHours — no referrals — equated to $125, which easily covered her electric bill. Calculating in her 61 new referrals, she earned $2,594 that month.

More recently, in August, Kim capped off the month with more than $2,833 in earnings.

To date, she’s banked nearly $6,000 through OhmConnect.

*OhmConnect can currently only tap into a few utility companies to monitor energy consumption. These include California PG&E, SDG&E and SCE customers; as well as Toronto Hydro customers.

OhmConnect’s currently offering a $5 bonus for new users who connect their utility accounts, too.

The McDermotts Move Forward — While Doing Good

Kim assures the world that referring others isn’t selfish; she’s exposing them to a platform they’d otherwise have not known about, she’s helping others (and California) save energy, and she’s getting others in on the profit as well.

Here’s an example: A while back, Kim saw a local woman post to Facebook asking for a few groceries; she promised to pay them back as soon as she got her paycheck.

Kim grabbed what she she could out of her pantry and delivered it. The woman was so thankful and assured Kim she’d see the $20 come payday. Kim told her not to worry, to just sign up with OhmConnect instead.

“It took her a little bit, but she did it,” Kim says. “We both got that $20.”

Now, Kim watches the woman move up in the leaderboard each month with the amount of earnings she’s pocketing.

“I feel good she is able to offset some of her needs with the program,” Kim says.

OhmConnect has also allowed Kim to donate to causes close to her heart — like to animal charities and to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

And about all that debt she incurred from Mr. Sitka? Between Tom working overtime and Kim’s OhmConnect earnings, the couple has made a large dent.

This past July, Kim paid off a $2,660.31 Home Depot bill six months earlier than she’d expected.

“It’s so nice to check in on [the Home Depot account] once or twice a month, and it says you owe $0,” she said. “It’s been years since I’ve had a $0 balance on my Home Depot card. It’s so hard with interest.”

Plus, the couple has managed to save a little here and there to take some time off when they can. They just returned from a short trip to Disneyland. (Nope, not the same one she was at when she received that call from her husband back in 2014…)

Perhaps what makes Kim the happiest, though, is that her husband is proud of her OhmConnect hustle. A few weeks ago, Kim describes while tearing up, her husband woke up at 1:45 a.m. for his shift at work.

He left a note for her:

Dear Mama,

Just wanted to say I love you and how proud I am of you. Great job.

Love always…

handwritten note

Photo courtesy of Kim McDermott

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wants to hear from California residents: How much money have you made using OhmConnect?

Honest Abe

Disclosure:

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.