Company promises cash to those who save energy

Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-27 12:32:49-04

A company is promising to pay San Diegans cash for cutting their energy use when demand is at its peak.

The payouts can add to hundreds of dollars per year.

But getting that cash means following some very specific instructions, and isn't as simple as turning off your air conditioning. 

The company is called OhmConnect, which has a contract with San Diego Gas & Electric.

San Diegans who sign up let OhmConnect tap into their smart meters. They will then get a text message alerting them to a specific hour when they should cut their energy use - turn off air conditioning, lights, chargers, surge protectors, and avoid opening the fridge and freezer. OhmConnect suggests people do something outside during that time. 

"Everyone is looking to save a buck, so I was like why not, times are tough?" said Patrick Copley, of Serra Mesa, who signed up Monday. 

Curtis Tongue, a spokesman for OhmConnect, said the company has ramped up its advertising over the past few months. He said OhmConnect sells the reduced energy use to SDG&E, takes a cut, and passes on the rest to the participant in terms of points. 

Each point is worth a penny, and can be cashed out to Paypal once a person reaches 1,000 points, worth $10. 

OhmConnect says a person who participates two to three times a week can earn between $100 and $300 over a year. An SDG&E spokesman noted that customers are still responsible for paying their bill. The cash they get from OhmConnect is separate.