We might be aware that utilities will pay out for energy savings, thanks to the last energy crisis, but how many of us know how to do this through our smart meters? OhmConnect offers help with getting a little something out of this demand response energy marketplace.

The San Francisco-based company made a game out of using the grid with a simple app that makes people more attentive to their use, and what they pay for electricity. Though some might say that it’s really time for a shove toward decarbonization, this is a friendly nudge.

Smart meter customers present an enormous untapped potential for the demand response market. Of the roughly 72 million smart meter units had been installed in the United States, 4% of households said they had accessed or viewed the data.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that having knowledge and information about how much you’re paying is a big factor in deciding how much to use,” said Ahmad Faruqui a smart grid analyst and principal with the Brattle Group in San Francisco.

One of the OhmConnect ideas is to reward users for continuous engagement. This will begin to affect long-term usage habits. Once a user enables OhmConnect to access her smart meter data, OhmConnect makes a forecast for off-peak usage times that they call “OhmHour.” Users share tactics for how to beat that forecast.

Energy Aggregators

OhmConnect users represent a discerning demographic. They aim for “streaks,” or row of successful off-peak energy hours that reduce overall consumption. The longer the streak, the larger the bonus on payments of #OhmHour cash. Examples of what users can do to optimize for longer streaks: bring down the Nest thermostat during the OhmHour, or set home charging stations to power down during the allotted period.

The Big Picture in Demand Response

OhmConnect’s John Anderson says today’s demand response market (DRAM) germinated two decades ago during the last energy crisis in California. The state established a resource adequacy program to make utility companies (SCE, PG&E, and San Diego Gas & Electric )show that they could meet consumer demand. Today the demand response market is projected to be worth 35.9 billion by 2025.

Meanwhile, OhConnect and all players in the DRAM marketplace wait to see how California’s 2018–2019 pilot program fares.