Energy Saving, Made Simple

 · November 1, 2021

By Wendy Chou

Being part of the climate solution can take many forms: whether it’s flying less, showing up to local city council meetings, getting out the vote, or talking with friends and neighbors about electrifying homes and businesses — there are a lot of ways individuals can take a stand for climate action. But while taking individual action is hugely important, when it comes to energy use, coordinated actions made at a community level can be even more powerful.

Take so-called “peaker plants,” which are power plants that typically only operate at times of peak demand. Because we tend to use quite a bit of energy in the evening (when people have come home from work), at a time when solar supplies are less available, California actually relies on dirty, fossil fuel-fired peaker plants to maintain its power supply for residents. Thankfully, the process of replacing peaker plants with renewables plus storage is underway, but there are still peaker plants currently in existence which tend to be sited closer to lower-income neighborhoods and disproportionately pollute underresourced communities.

What can you do? One service that’s available to thousands of Californians is a demand response tool called OhmConnect.

When the demand for energy is high, the state of California prefers to pay programs like OhmConnect to save energy rather than pay a dirty power plant to produce more power. OhmConnect passes those earnings to their community of energy savers who power down during OhmHours when the grid needs the energy savings the most.

Incredibly, there are financial incentives to join up. In fact, you can earn rewards for conserving energy one hour per week. While you unplug you’ll be saving on your energy bill, reducing your emissions, and receiving a reward from OhmConnect.

So, can you unplug an appliance or two? Do your laundry a bit later in the day? Through simple actions, you could then be earning rewards for the energy you save. Find out if you qualify for OhmConnect’s free program, here.

Tangible actions to combat prevent climate change don’t have to be hard to find. With OhmConnect, you can join the broader movement of Californians powering down together at times of stress on our power grid. At scale, demand-response tools can help California meet its clean energy targets. That sounds like a real win-win for the environment — and your wallet.


Wendy Chou is Acterra’s Communications and Outreach Manager, and is a user of the OhmConnect service. After receiving her Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley, she consulted for the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) division. Here’s her energy-saving tip: use a 30-min timer to make sure your phone doesn’t charge all day long, which should help extend the life of your mobile device’s battery as well as save energy.

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