If You Live in Almost Any California County, This App Could Make You $300

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Let’s get straight to the point: This app will pay you up to $300 for turning out the lights, shutting off your energy-consuming appliances and going outside for an hour.

Do we have your attention? We thought so.

If you have a utility account with PG&E, SDG&E or Southern California Edison, which cover nearly every single county in California, go grab a copy of your latest bill.

Got it? Good. Here’s the deal.

OhmConnect is a free app that will pay you to help save when the energy grid gets stretched. These earning periods are called “OhmHours” and  during this time, your job is to simply use less power.

Go outside. Take the dog for a walk. Or take the kids to the park. If you can successfully reduce your energy usage, OhmConnect will send you a check!

Here’s how to try OhmConnect:

  1. Sign up for OhmConnect and sync it with your online utility account through PG&E, SDG&E or Southern California Edison. You must have an online account with one of these electric companies to qualify for OhmConnect. This needs to be done when you sign up, so have your utility info handy. OhmConnect’s currently offering a $10 bonus for new users who connect their utility accounts before Jan. 30.
  2. Receive energy usage notifications during “#OhmHours” — high-energy-consumption hours that trigger non-green power plants to activate in order to support the overtaxed grid.
  3. Head outside or at least turn the TV off until the #OhmHour is up. Heck, you can even play cell phone games during this hour — just resist plugging in any new electronics.
  4. Profit! OhmConnect rewards you with cash for not contributing to the high demand that prompts unclean power sources to turn on.

This all works because the California electricity market (or California ISO) pays OhmConnect to help them avoid turning on an expensive, dirty power plant. The company then passes the savings on to you.

#OhmHours only occur a couple of times a week, and in addition to earning money, it’s likely you’ll see a reduction in your power bill each month, too. Not to mention the benefits of getting some sunshine!

How to Maximize Your Earnings

Your earnings are based on how much power you save. The more you save, the higher your “status,” which helps you earn even more.

For example:

  • Platinum status requires an average savings of 40% or more beneath your forecasts = 4x earnings multiplier
  • Gold status requires an average savings of 20% or more = 2x earnings multiplier
  • Silver status requires an average savings of less than 20% = normal earnings

Once you’ve earned rewards, you can choose to cash out or donate directly to your favorite charity.

You can also directly connect OhmConnect with any smart energy devices you already have in your home, like the Nest thermostat.

The downside?

Like we mentioned, this cool program only works for you Californians for now, and you have to have an online account with one of the electric companies mentioned above.

I’m hoping OhmConnect will be able to expand soon as it continues to catch on!

Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes other stuff, like wine reviews and poems.

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