Before you dive in: As of May 2019, OhmConnect is only available in:

  • California: PG&E, SDG&E or Southern California Edison
  • Texas: Smart Meter Texas
  • Ontario: Toronto Hydro

What's OhmConnect?

OhmConnect pays users to reduce electricity usage during peak hours when cleaner energy is less available. To date, the community of ~500,000 has abated 1.4 million pounds of CO2.

It's a win-win for everyone and it gets better: OhmConnect integrates directly with smart devices so participation can be automated. For better customization and security you can also their API.

Integrating with HomeAssistant

HomeAssistant ships with an OhmConnect integration that appears as a binary sensor. During an OhmHour, it will activate:

To configure it, you'll need your API key. Go to the OhmConnect settings page and scroll all the way to the bottom - you'll find a link to

If you're curious: the XML response looks like this:

<ohmhour>
<address>Your address</address>
<active>None</active> <!--or True-->
</ohmhour>

Copy & paste your personal API key at the end of the URL into your HomeAssistant configuration:

sensor:
  - platform: ohmconnect
    id: YOUR-API-KEY-HERE
  - platform: yr

Note: HomeAssistant comes preconfigured with a yr sensor – so make sure you don't accidentally create two sensor: sections or the OhmConnect sensor won't appear!

Automating OhmHours

You can use HomeAssistant's automation editor, or a configuration file, to turn devices off/on at the start/end OhmHours:

- id: '1234567890123'
  alias: Turn off devices during OhmHour
  trigger:
  - entity_id: binary_sensor.ohmconnect
    from: 'off'
    platform: state
    to: 'on'
  condition: []
  action:
  - data:
      entity_id: groups.everything
    service: homeassistant.turn_on

That's it!

Prioritize adding smart plugs to the largest appliances and electrics first (but make sure they're rated to handle the high power load):

  • Refrigerator
  • TV / Entertainment System
  • Lighting

Additionally, put off these activities for an hour (you could use a specific lamp to indicate an OhmHour is underway):

  • Laundry
  • Cooking
  • Running the Dishwasher

Rewards (and Realistic Expectations)

For me, OhmConnect is an awesome way to leverage your home automation hobby for a greater good. The initiative has encouraged half a million people to be more energy conscious through gamification and cutting edge technology - that's amazing!

As a bonus, you're paid for your participation based on your reduction. My advice: don't get too caught up with the payouts. Some get disappointed and lose interest in the program because payouts are proportional with reductions. Meaning: you'll earn less over time - and if you're already an energy conscious household, you might not earn much at all.

So keep in mind: smarter energy habits mean saving money on your energy bill and saving the planet.

You can get $10 for your first OhmHour by signing up here.