If You Live in These California Cities, This App Could Make You $300

Vintage Lifeguard Tower on Beach at sunset in San Diego, California


Let’s get straight to the point: We found a program that will pay you $300 a year (or more!) 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, listen up.

OhmConnect is a free tool that will pay you to help save energy when the 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.
  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 games on your phone during this hour — just resist plugging in any electronics.
  4. Profit! OhmConnect rewards you with cash.

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, you might 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 for at least 10 OhmHours. You'll receive the 2x multiplier on your payout.
  • Gold status requires an average savings of 15% or more for the past 10 OhmHours. You'll receive the 1.5x multiplier on your payout.

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 Californians for now, and you have to have an online account with one of the electric companies mentioned above.

Before you leave, be sure to read about how one San Diego resident made up to $487 a month by saving energy through OhmConnect.

Jamie Cattanach is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.

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