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This NYC Startup Will Pay You For Lowering Your Energy Bills

Finance, Sustainability, energy, money

Ohmconnect is the platform that pays you to save on your own electricity bills. You heard that correctly: they pay you to save money! Taking advantage of the IoT, their software is integrated with a number of smart devices already, including Nest, Tesla, and Belkin devices. Oh, it works manually, too, for those who aren’t plugged in to the Internet of Things.

Co-founder Matt Duesterberg cuts to the chase.

Tell us about the service.

We pay our users to reduce their electricity use at specific times when the energy grid is under stress. We detect when ‘peaker’ plants, which are expensive and carbon-intensive power plants, are about to switch on and we notify our users to use less power. We call these #OhmHour events and they usually occur 1-2 times per week for about 30 minutes. Users receive an alert via text or email, or they can connect home automation devices like the Nest thermostat, various smart switches, or even electric cars, to automate the whole process.

To the user, Ohmconnect is very simple, but behind the scenes we have built a sophisticated system to track regional energy markets, which are command centers that buy newly generated (wholesale) energy and then sell it to utilities. The energy market predicts how much energy the system needs, based on historical data. However, 1% of the time, the market under-forecasts demand, in which case it will call upon peaker plants to provide additional supply. The advantage of peaker plants is ramp up speed, but the tradeoff is inefficiency, pollution, and cost. In fact, that 1% of time accounts for 15% of market costs, with prices soaring from the about $40 MWh to as much as $1,000 MWh.

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