This Californian Hacked His Power Bill. Now He MAKES Up to $500/Month
John Hastie is a sharp man.
He has a technology degree in operations research and is the type of person who can rattle off a math equation while solving it even faster in his head.
He’s also extremely interested in renewable energy — relying largely on solar panels to power his house. He also drives an electric car.
Combining his two passions, he’s discovered a way to get paid up to $487 a month for saving energy.
Sure, it took some time to nail down the strategy, but he was willing to share how he managed the seemingly impossible feat.
How This California Man Gets Paid to Save Energy
Hastie, a San Diego resident, came across an online service called OhmConnect. It claimed to reward consumers in cash and prizes for reducing their energy consumption during specific times, called #OhmHours.
The #OhmHours occur when the energy grid is overworking and must rely on dirty power plants to prevent a brownout. Those power plants aren’t really the cleanest, so that’s why it’s important to cut back. #OhmHours typically occur once or twice a week in the afternoons or evenings.
OhmConnect users are notified via text or email when there’s an upcoming #OhmHour. That’s when they can take steps to reduce their energy usage by waiting to run the dishwasher, unplugging the Keurig, turning off the fridge or switching the A/C off.
Just for the #OhmHour. If you want to automate the process, you can even connect a smart thermostat or plug and let OhmConnect do this automatically. Even connecting some of your biggest energy-hogging devices to a smart plug can help you save $500 a year — effortlessly. But you don’t need a smart device to save: The more you do, the more money you can make.
Aside from helping the environment by cutting back on your energy usage, OhmConnect will reward you for how much you save.
The more you save, the more points (or cash) you earn. You can also hit bonuses and earn tokens, which give you prizes.
OhmConnect’s dashboard lets you monitor your forecasted energy usage and energy savings and compares it against your actual usage during an #OhmHour.
Hastie has experimented with the tool for months now and devised a strategy that earns him the most money.
For example, he’s added smart plugs to his TV and fridge, which automatically flips them off during selected #OhmHours. He’s also connected his thermostat to OhmConnect, so it works the same way.
He treats OhmConnect like a game. Each month, he attempts to drive down his energy usage to rack up more and more points and to cash out even more money. Which appliances consume the most energy? Can he add more smart plugs? How many bonuses can he hit?
“What I like about it is I want to save as much as I can, and I try to have a new record each time,” he says.
He’s even gotten his friends to sign up (yes, there are referral bonuses, too!) and they compare numbers each month.
Note: OhmConnect can only tap into a few utility companies to monitor your consumption. These include California PG&E, SDG&E and SCE customers; as well as Toronto Hydro customers.
Here’s Exactly How Much Money Hastie Makes Saving Energy
Hastie keeps a spreadsheet to track his usage and savings, so he rattled off some earnings he’s collected from OhmConnect in 2017:
- In February, he earned $26.99.
- In March, he earned $29.59.
- In April, he earned $96.87.
- In May, he earned $225.13.
- In June, he earned $487.52.
- In July, he earned $228.40.
In June, Hastie explains, the state of California had a two-hour Flex Alert, a request for all consumers to conserve. OhmConnect offered to pay triple, so he banked $188 in those two hours.
You’ll notice his earnings continue to increase, too. Hastie has worked his way up the levels and has hit bonus “streaks” for participating in 42 consecutive OhmHours (as of when we chatted).
Hastie is able to cash out as soon as he hits 1,000 points, which equates to $10. He can opt for a gift card or cash. He can also donate the money or spend it in the OhmConnect store, which sells those smart plugs mentioned above.
Hasite continues to tweak his strategy month after month. He suspects he won’t hit the jackpot again like he did back in June, but he says OhmConnect is a solid way to earn extra money — and keep his energy costs low.
Enter your ZIP code here to open a free OhmConnect account, then sync it with your online utility account through PG&E, SDG&E or Southern California Edison to start earning extra cash.
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wants to hear from California residents: How much money have you made using OhmConnect?