Extreme Heat Waves Mean Extreme Demand On The Energy Grid

OhmConnect customers playing a key role in electricity management this summer

The bad news: California’s energy authority (the CAISO) recently released a report indicating that this summer has a 50% chance of calling a "Stage 2" emergency -- a surge in energy demand which could create need for the dirtiest, most inefficient power plants to turn on.

This hasn’t happened since 2007, and we don’t want 2018 to be the year it happens again.

Why is this happening?

For those technically inclined, with below-average amounts of water to power hydro plants and shut downs of several larger gas power plants, the available electricity to serve consumers will be tight during hot days this summer. Moreover, because of so much solar on the grid, the biggest need is during evening hours of hot days when solar power dissipates -- exactly the conditions that were envisioned to be mitigated by demand response programs like OhmConnect!

The good news: This is what OhmConnect was built for. OhmConnect’s vision is to stop blackouts or the turning on of dirty power plants by simply turning off your electricity for an hour at a time. Our community has come up with a number of inspiring ways to reduce electricity - whether it is simply plugging in “smart” devices that turn off things like your refrigerator or A/C or scheduling your evening walk during the #OhmHour - which has helped the grid when it has needed it most. And as a result? We have seen millions of dollars paid out to communities across California.

It is highly likely that the grid will be counting on us, the OhmConnect community, to really come through for the grid this summer. Every action and every saving counts. Let’s do this together!

Haven’t heard of OhmConnect yet?

OhmConnect is a free service that will pay you to help save when the energy grid gets stressed. Instead of turning on another power plant, the OhmConnect community gets into action and saves as much energy as it can. These earning periods are called #OhmHours and during this time, a participant’s job is to simply use less energy.

Here’s how to try OhmConnect, and get paid to help California’s energy grid:

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. You can only get paid when you connect your online utility account, so this is an important step.

2. Receive energy usage notifications during “#OhmHours” — high-energy-consumption hours that trigger dirty power plants to activate in order to support the overtaxed grid. This typically occurs once or twice a week in the afternoons or evenings via email or text message.

3. Head outside or at least turn the TV off until the #OhmHour is up. Heck, you can even play mobile 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.

So what are you waiting for? Be a climate hero this summer, AND get paid for your help.

Matt Duesterberg

Matt Duesterberg is CEO and Co-founder of OhmConnect, which provides an energy sharing service for residential homes. OhmConnect pays users to save energy during hours when the grid needs load shifted. From prior experiences, Matt realized that a fundamental need within the energy industry was to bring expertise from outside the energy sector to solve problems that are common in other industries – such as consumer engagement, marketing, and software services. He has an MS from Stanford and a BS from UVA.

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