A few home upgrades helped this California family save on their energy bill - and just won them $1700

A smart thermostat cost them less than $200, but has earned them thousands.

Katie Overmonds
April 8, 2021
User Stories

When self-proclaimed “gadget guy” Philip H from Redlands, CA installed a smart thermostat in his home, it was mostly for convenience and the idea of saving a few bucks on his energy bills fell in line with his frugal lifestyle. 

“We have always been conscious of how we spend our money and we try not to use energy during peak periods when it’s expensive,” he explained. 

Never did he imagine that that one simple action could win him nearly $2000. But just last week, Philip’s name was called as one of two winners of OhmConnect’s latest giveaway - an ENERGY STAR washer + dryer set, or the cash equivalent, that he chose. 

How the family gets paid to save energy

Philip, his wife and their two daughters participate in a free program called OhmConnect. Around once per week, OhmConnect notifies them when there’s too much demand on the energy grid and if they can use less power than they’re predicted to, they get rewards like cash payments or entries into the biweekly prize giveaways. 

Living in a four-bedroom home in Redlands, he jokes that their home is nice, but nothing like the flashy Beverly Hills-style homes you see on TV. Staying on top of their bills is a priority and OhmConnect is not the first time they’ve looked into options for how to decrease their monthly costs. Philip signed up with OhmConnect this year, after disenrolling from a different energy-saving program he had signed up for through his utility provider, SCE. 

“We were part of the SCE summer discount program but we found it to be too inflexible and inconvenient,” he shared. “SCE would remotely turn down our power and we got a discount for it but there wasn’t the opportunity to opt out if it wasn’t convenient. With OhmConnect, I can choose when I want to participate and even better, I earn a lot more money.” 

Making energy conservation a family affair 

Although Philip and his family are able to earn money simply for connecting their smart thermostat and smart plugs to OhmConnect and letting the service adjust their power automatically, they go above and beyond and unplug as much as they can during those peak-energy times, called OhmHours. 

“We really enjoy the time to unplug,” he explained. “We’ll play a board game or go out for a walk and take the time to do something together as a family.” 

Congratulations to you and your family, Philip! 

Katie Overmonds

Katie is an award-winning journalist and digital strategist with more than 10 years of experience in print and digital media and a passion for the environment and fighting climate change.

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