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Ohmconnect and PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE customers

markb1

Active Member
Feb 17, 2012
3,052
659
San Diego, CA
I made $285 over about 8 months last year. That's with solar, and with "goals" of around 0.7 kWh for a typical ohmhour. So it hasn't been super lucrative for me, but it seems it could be worth considerably more for a household that consumes more. I've been using a battery (not a powerwall) to cancel out most of my usage during ohmhours, so there's the cost to charge the battery, but that's not much.
 

markb1

Active Member
Feb 17, 2012
3,052
659
San Diego, CA
How much is your normal bill? Are you on a TOU rate?
The goal of the program was to change consumption behavior. Did it change your consumption behavior?

I am on TOU, and my SDG&E bill is just a few hundred dollars per year. I definitely changed my consumption behavior, because I stopped using energy from the grid during ohmhours, instead using in the middle of the night to charge the battery. Though, I suppose if I didn’t have ohmconnect, I would still use the battery for arbitrage... it just wouldn’t be worth as much. But looking at it that way, the program still changes when I use the battery. (Instead of spreading it out, I concentrate in on the ohmhour.)

Also, just remembered that the $285 that I made from ohmconnect includes about $100 in autohms for my nest thermostat. (I let them turn off my thermostat whenever they want, and they pay me.). Given the climate here, it’s kind of silly, because I use my HVAC very little.
 

csanders90D

Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2016
125
172
San Diego, CA
I've been doing OhmConnect for a couple years and earn about $300 per year. I don't have very high use ($100-$200/month bills) and don't play any games to spike my usage, I just set my PowerWall to zero out power usage when requested. They used to have a thing where solar users were expected to reduce a fixed amount (2kW?) even if that made your goal negative, but they got rid of that. Overall, the PowerWall makes it so easy that I can consistently hit goals without the wife and kids even knowing that OhmHours exist.

During the summer, when AC is on, the PowerWall tends to hit reserve by around 7PM (my system is on the small side). So, I just sign up for OhmHours after 7, and when that happens I adjust the PowerWall to offset my usage from 7-9 instead of the usual 4-7.

During the winter, the difference between peak and off-peak during the week is only $0.01, so I don't offset midweek usage unless there's an OhmHour. Weekends have super-off-peak in the mornings, so I'm doing the regular rate arbitrage then.
 

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
379
328
Silicon Valley, CA
I finally went back to recollect what was the issue for low-baseline solar users, that ultimately left me cold. If you're already a low-baseline user, let's say 0.5 kwh per hour, then even if you cut your usage in half, (even 250 watts is very difficult to shed remaining loads), you'll normally earn maybe 20-30 cents for an OhmHour.

So additionl multipliers from reaching certain levels, like Gold (6X) or Platinum (10X) are key to making it meaningful. Normally, to reach Gold, you have to reduce consumption by average of 15% over previous five OhmHours. To reach Platinum, you have to reduce by 40%. Difficult, but not impossible, and I actually did hit these. Then they changed it so that solar users had to reduce by absolute 0.4 kwh per OhmHour for Gold, 0.8 kwh per hour for Platinum - logic was difficult to calculate % reduction if solar users were actually net generators during an OhmHour. Difficult to do, but possible when they occured in mid-to-late afternoon.

Finally, instead of OhmHours at 3 pm , or 5pm, or 6pm, literally every single OhmHour I was invited to was 8-9pm, except for a double hour from 7-9 pm. At those evening hours, solar no longer factors in, yet they retained a different standard for solar users. To achieve Platinum, I'd have to reduce from 0.5 kw to -0.3 kw, literally pushing power into the grid at nighttime. So while I could still get maybe 20 cents from cutting my usage by 20-40%, it was far less than the $1-2 I was getting previously, and just not worth the effort anymore.

Just wanted to document this here, since many folks on this forum already have or are considering solar.
 

csanders90D

Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2016
125
172
San Diego, CA
Yes, I remember when they tried that flat -2kW thing for solar users, it was a mess. Luckily they reversed that. Unfortunately, I can't find their post where they describe the changes. Currently, they calculate your baseline as the average of your usage during that time period (e.g. 7-8 PM) over the last 10 days and measure the % savings from that baseline. I'm not sure what happens if your baseline is negative (solar out-producing your usage), so I just adjust my settings so I don't get OhmHours until after 6 PM.
 

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
379
328
Silicon Valley, CA
I'm sitting through an OhmHour right now, so I thought I'd chime in again. I mentioned before that due to the "penalty" for solar users, I'd opted out of OhmHours after sundown, which meant pretty sitting out entirely for the last two years. But suddenly a few weeks ago, my Kasa power automation devices all tripped off at 8 pm, which at first I thought was a power outage - turns out they'd opted me back in for OhmHours at all hours.

I checked the OhmConnect site, and apparently they made a major overhaul (nerf?) to the program. It's apparently causing a lot of uproar among the active community. Here are some of the key differences from the old program, including impact on solar users:
-no more opting out of OhmHours by time of day, or manually. So I've now seen at least 1-2 per week, which I recall was not unusual for summers. Still mostly at 7 or 8 pm. The only way to opt out is to quit the program entirely.
-they changed the earning units from Points to Watts. Before, a 1Kwh reductioncould be 100 Points, which was worth about $1, while now 1000 Watts is worth about $1 to $1.10 nominally. They converted everyone's Point balances to the new units, from what I can tell it was a neutral conversion, but many claim their balances were nerfed (I think they don't grasp the new units yet).
-streaks got a complete nerf. Before, each additional streak added a 5% mutliplier, so streak of 20 gave 100% bonus or 2X overall , streak of 40 gave 200% bonus, etc. Now they still track your streak, but it seems to be worth nothing at all.
-Gold, Silver, Platinum tier levels for achieving a certain % reduction also got a massive nerf. They used to give 50% to 100% or more bonuses, which stacked with streak bonuses. Now they give between 10-20% discount on redeeming your balance for cash or other rewards, so an effective 10-20% bonus instead.
-the weird tiered level system for solar users is still there, entirely unchanged from a few years back. In fact it is even more explicit now, if you have solar, your baseline for tier levels is shown as 2000 Potential Watts, regardless of your actual baseline usage. To hit Gold you have to average a 300W absolute reduction (15% of 2000), to hit Platinum you have to average a 800W absolute reduction (40% of 2000). Perhaps this went away for a year or two when I sat out, but it's back as I remember it. Now for actual Watts earnings, it's still based on your actual baseline typical usage, but weirdly solar users can't see their baseline before the OhmHour, because all they show you is the 2000 Potential Watts (which only applies for tier status qualification).
-if you opt in Devices like Kasa automation, smart thermostats, Tesla car charging, you used to earn tokens to be redeemed for other things that could create further multipliers once in a while. Now you get Device Watts, I'm seeing worth about 5 to 40 cents per device. I'm not sure what you get for disabling Tesla charging though, be forewarned in the past it kept your car from ever sleeping, which would waste several kwh per day (so much for energy conservation!).

The community seems to be in an uproar, as the streak and tier multipliers used to give 2-5X bonuses, which for a heavy user meant they were earning $20-50 per OhmHour, now nerfed to say $5 with a 20% redemption bonus. For me, it's a bit neutral, I previously earned $1 or less reducing my usage from 800 watts to say 300 at 8 pm, now I get about the same. I have a bunch of Kasa smart outlets, so I get about $0.50 extra - which almost doubles my modest earnings.

As a solar user who can't go negative at night, I still can't hit the tier levels, but now it doesn't matter because they're effectively worthless. In some ways by nerfing streaks and tiers though, it's ironically a bit more fair to solar and low-baseline users, since nobody can make out like a bandit anymore - but I feel for the the community. I'm staying in, not so much for the modest ~$1/week earnings, but more that I'm too lazy to figure out how to withdraw entirely from the program (the only way to opt out now).
 

ccrowder

Member
Mar 25, 2021
12
24
San Diego
I actually am not sure they even do their calculations correctly.. Recently got my PW and turned on so during the last ohm hour used zero energy from grid. This was also at a time when my solar does not produce so before everything was from grid. They stated I could get 2000watts max through reduction but somehow only got 1400 and reduced my electricity usage by 74%. Being that I used zero power from utlity trying to figure out where that 26% 'usage' came from =p
 

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
379
328
Silicon Valley, CA
I actually am not sure they even do their calculations correctly.. Recently got my PW and turned on so during the last ohm hour used zero energy from grid. This was also at a time when my solar does not produce so before everything was from grid. They stated I could get 2000watts max through reduction but somehow only got 1400 and reduced my electricity usage by 74%. Being that I used zero power from utlity trying to figure out where that 26% 'usage' came from =p
The exact 2000 Potential Watts, as I referenced in my previous post, is a clear indicator that you have solar, and all that figure is good for is calculating whether you reduced by 300W (15%) for Gold or 800W (40%) for Platinum tier qualification. You cannot actually earn 2000W, the 74% reduction (~1400/2000) I believe is just saying you surpassed the Platinum threshold.

Your actual baseline was probably around 1400W, which you apparently reduced to 0W (100% reduction), but you won't be able to see that until you view your detailed OhmHour results afterwards - you can download the .CSV spreadsheet from the events tab to see your baseline and actual grid usage for that and previous OhmHours.
 

csanders90D

Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2016
125
172
San Diego, CA
Thanks for confirming that there's no longer a way to chose which times of the day are opt-in or opt-out, I was looking all over their site for that.

I have the exact same problem with the solar calculation. My typical usage is around 1kW, and I used to have Diamond status with the powerwall reducing my usage by 99% during OhmHours. Now, they show me at 51% reduction because I can't have negative usage at night. Tried telling them that using the solar formula after sunset is crazy, but no response.
 

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
379
328
Silicon Valley, CA
Thanks for confirming that there's no longer a way to chose which times of the day are opt-in or opt-out, I was looking all over their site for that.

I have the exact same problem with the solar calculation. My typical usage is around 1kW, and I used to have Diamond status with the powerwall reducing my usage by 99% during OhmHours. Now, they show me at 51% reduction because I can't have negative usage at night. Tried telling them that using the solar formula after sunset is crazy, but no response.
Yeah, I bitched about the ironic solar penalty in their official (now closed) forum a few years ago too, they don't get it

Solar users caught between rock and a hard place

At least you can console yourself in the fact that Platinum and Diamond status are almost worthless now
 

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