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OhmConnect Gamifies Energy Use to Shift Energy Demand



An energy use interactivity company is changing how and when consumers use energy.

The San Francisco-based OhmConnect bridges the gap between consumers and the energy sector by paying users to cut their electricity use during high demand times and shifting use to low demand times. Doing so improves resiliency on the electric grid.

OhmConnect Co-founder Matt Duesterberg shared the company’s approach at a California Energy Commission talk in March.

OhmConnect’s program was developed with help from a grant from the Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC), which funds energy innovation research.

“What I’m really excited about is what the CEC has done in the past to build this kind of foundation for renewable future,” Duesterberg said, “Not only are they [consumers] engaged, but they’re doing so in a really exciting and fun manner.”

Duesterberg said OhmConnect provides a smart energy network to home residents and pays them in points, cash prizes, and other rewards.

Participants receive a text or email notifying them to save energy for a specified portion of the day and unplug. Some have even shut off their circuit breakers during the energy savings events, which are called OhmHour events.

The company expanded from the energy industry to the general public, growing from 70,000 users in 2016 before the Energy Commission grant to nearly 500,000 users now. OhmConnect has since shifted from a grant-based model to an open-market model, Duesterberg said.

A primary goal of OhmConnect is to provide meaningful efficiency for consumers to engage with the grid and green energy consumption. Money is the largest driver of OhmConnect participation. Competing against others and helping with climate change are other reasons.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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