OAKLAND, Calif., June 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — OhmConnect, the leading customer-response program for residential energy use, today announced its new "EndCABlackouts" campaign, which will offer the first 1 million California residents free smart thermostats to help prevent blackouts in California this summer. This giveaway supports the recent launch of OhmConnect’s City Energy Challenge, a competition between California cities that encourages residents to save energy, prevent blackouts and get paid for their efforts. Kristen Bell can be seen on EndCABlackouts.com explaining how this campaign can help Californians save money and avoid blackouts this summer.
During the unprecedented heat waves in August 2020, OhmConnect’s network of energy savers helped limit blackouts in California by saving almost 1GWh of energy – the equivalent of taking 600,000 homes off of the grid for an hour. Ultimately, their efforts helped prevent six additional days of blackouts and earned them $1.3 million in cash and prizes from OhmConnect. With 1 million smart thermostats connected to OhmConnect, residents will be able to save four times more energy to help prevent blackouts during what experts say will be the hottest summer on record.
"Thank you to OhmConnect for making these thermostats free to anybody who joins the program," said Mayor Libby Schaaf. "Not only will you get a free smart thermostat, but you will save money on your electricity bill, and you can get paid to become, essentially, part of a virtual power plant. Talk about people power. I love the idea that together, by taking collective action, we can prevent the turning on of one of these dirty peaker plants."
EndCABlackout campaign ads will run in major California media markets, including billboards on major highways, a comprehensive digital advertising campaign, and a grassroots, community-focused statewide outreach effort. California households using Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric for their electricity are eligible to join OhmConnect and participate in EndCABlackouts to receive either a free smart thermostat or two free smart plugs and $25. A smart thermostat or other device is not required to participate.
OhmConnect recently announced its partnership with Google. This program also includes partnerships with Ecobee and Emerson, which altogether represents the most popular smart thermostats on the market. The first 1 million households that sign up, qualify, and connect to the OhmConnect platform will receive a smart thermostat of their choice.
OhmConnect’s City Energy Challenge was unveiled by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh and California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister last month. This neighborly competition will award the community that installs the greatest number of smart thermostats or smart plugs and connects them to the OhmConnect platform with $50,000 in educational scholarships ($5,000 to 10 winners) and the title of "Energy Saving Superhero."
"We saw this work last year when the OhmConnect community of 150,000 homes responded to state-issued Flex Alerts by making deep cuts in their energy use," said Cisco DeVries, CEO, OhmConnect. "Participating OhmConnect residents helped to prevent blackouts in 2020, and this campaign will dramatically increase the number of participating households — and dramatically decrease energy use to help prevent blackouts this summer. Working together, Californians can make a huge difference."
By syncing energy use across homes and operating as a virtual power plant, OhmConnect’s innovative platform helps Californians reduce their collective electricity usage when the grid needs it most. Adjusting thermostats by just a few degrees at times of peak energy use can deliver 680 MW in savings to the grid, about twice the energy generated by a conventional power plant.
"We won’t reach our goals without including everyone in California," said Andrew McAllister, Commissioner of the California Energy Commission. "The grid needs resources to be as flexible and as responsive as they can possibly be, in order to support the reliability that we need. And OhmConnect is providing just that."
OhmConnect, winner of the 2021 Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award, was founded in 2014 with the vision of becoming the world’s largest supplier of clean energy. It has a mission to improve the lives of people and the health of the planet by reimagining the way energy is (collectively) used. Today, OhmConnect enables hundreds of thousands of customers to reimagine how they use energy, to choose clean energy over dirty energy when required, and to be rewarded for timely, smarter, home energy use. OhmConnect makes it possible for customers to use clean energy without buying expensive solar-powered systems or changing energy providers. The company pays its users for saving energy when the grid is at risk of using dirty power. OhmConnect has paid Californian consumers nearly $14 million to save energy. Customers of the three major California electricity suppliers – Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric – can sign up with OhmConnect for free at ohmconnect.com. Follow OhmConnect on Twitter @OhmConnect, see the OhmConnect blog or check it out on Facebook and LinkedIn.