OhmConnect - Better then Tesla's Virtual Power Plant for Tesla Powerwall Owners

As mentioned in my other post, I am ineligible to join a VPP. This alone makes me not recommend any installer except Tesla themselves. Once I gave up on trying to join Tesla’s VPP, I researched other Demand Response Programs and found OhmConnect. When Googling, you’ll find many Tesla and Reddit posts comparing these two services with most people realizing that OhmConnect yields better results.

How it Works

OhmConnect Event

When there’s a power saving event, OhmConnect will ping you, and you are expected to change your behavior to save power. If you do in fact save power during the event compared to your historical energy usage, you’ll earn points, which you can redeem for various prizes such as Amazon Gift Cards (my choice). When I first learned about this, I thought it was super annoying; I didn’t want to think about every event and change my behavior just to save a few dollars. Thus, I just set it up and forgot about it.

Then, when I added integrations and realized I was earning a lot of points, I finally understood how this works. You don’t have to change your behavior if you integrate your smart products and let OhmConnect manage them for you!

Connect Your Devices

I essentially have three types of devices connected to OhmConnect:

  • Tesla Powerwall
  • Thermostat
  • Smart Plugs

OhmConnect Device Rewards

For each device except for my vehicle, I got participation awards. At the base rewards, 10 watts is about 1 cent, so I made $2 just for having my devices participating! But what does participation mean?

  • Tesla Powerwall - OhmConnect will change the backup percentage so that you use/discharge as much of your battery during the event as possible. If you look at my rewards above, I discharged about 4kwh during the event
  • Thermostat - OhmConnect will disable your HVAC. At first, I was annoyed, but then I realized that if I really wanted the AC on, I’ll just override OhmConnect and miss out on $0.30 cents in rewards. I’ve also learned to blast my AC before peak hours.
  • Smart Plugs - OhmConnect will turn off these devices will turn off during the events. In the case of my home air filter, I don’t need it running 24/7 and it doesn’t have its own good scheduling system.

Keep a Streak

If you keep a streak of saving power, even if it’s just 1 watt, you’ll eventually hit Diamond status like me. With a Tesla Powerwall, it’s pretty easy to do this since energy is exported automatically based on OhmConnect’s integration. With my Diamond status, I can redeem rewards for 30% fewer watts, e.g. a $10 Amazon gift card for 5,960 watts instead of 8,520 watts. This means that 1kw of power exported is equivalent to more than $1.50 of Amazon credits for me.

Forget About It

With all your devices connected, you, by default, will not need to worry about anything. If anything, you’d override your thermostat to turn on the AC when OhmConnect disabled it.

Upcoming Tesla Powerwall Integration Changes

My OhmConnect History

There have been a few days where the Tesla Powerwall integration did not work. When I contacted OhmConnect, it seems like they’re updating their integration, which makes sense given that the current integration they’ve described probably doesn’t work for NEM 3.0 users. A core issue seems that Tesla hasn’t made an API to allow third parties to enable discharging batteries. This is something to keep an eye out on if you’re integrating your Powerwall.

Differences Between VPP

There are two key differences with OhmConnect and Tesla VPP. The first is that when a VPP event occurs, Tesla charges your battery for you, which would be really beneficial for someone like me who doesn’t always have enough solar to fill their batteries. OhmConnect doesn’t have that much control over your Tesla Powerwall.

The second is that there are becoming less and less VPP events, most likely because California’s grid is becoming much more stable with more batteries. OhmConnect, on the other hand, seems to have at least 3 events per month, most likely to keep all users engaged with the platform. For me, 3x events per month with an average 4kwhs saved is 144kwh per year or $216 in Amazon credits per year, not including additional events that occur during the summer.

Want to save money too? Join OhmConnect with my referral code: