There are lots of ways to save money on your electric bill, but remembering to turn things off (or unplug them) and to put your appliances into sleep mode during certain hours can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Using smart technology can get you part of the way, but there are also ways to “gamify” your electricity use. The GridRewards app is one of them. With the help of AI, the app can help you change your power consuming habits by rewarding you with a little bit of cash for using less electricity—in addition to the savings you’ll see on your next bill. Here’s how it works.
Who is eligible for the GridRewards app
The GridRewards app is available for Apple and Android devices, or you can download it from the GridRewards website—but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use it. You’ll need to input your zip code to see if your area is covered, and if you can participate in events to earn rewards and save money on your electric bill. Currently, customers using ConEdison in New York and New Jersey, Southern California Edison in California, Pacific Gas and Electric in California, and some other areas in Texas and California are eligible to receive rewards through the app. Hopefully, the program’s availability will expand with time.
How the GridRewards app can save you money (and how much)
Once you’re signed up, the app will help you save power by peppering you with energy saving tips, but more importantly, it will connect to your electricity use through your utility provider and help you track your usage in real time. In addition, the app will alert you to peak usage hours and events where you can earn cash by saving electricity. The AI technology GridRewards employs can monitor energy usage and communicate with customers, helping you save energy during times when a lot of power is being consumed in your area (which are also times when energy is more expensive). The less energy you use during these events, the more rewards you can earn. According to GridRewards, the average household can earn around $100/year via the app.
What are peak energy events?
Most of the time, peak events occur during heat waves, when lots of people are using air conditioning and fans. When these events occur, electrical utility providers might need to access what they refer to as “peaker plants” to provide more power. Using these auxiliary power plans is expensive and inefficient, and utility companies would rather reward customers who reduce their consumption during peak events.
How to earn money with GridRewards
While you might notice some savings on your bill just from using less power overall, the cash rewards you earn using GridRewards are administered through the app, which is a product by Logical Buildings, a technology company focused on making building more efficient. They will send you money via PayPal or mail you a check, whichever you prefer. If you want to get your rewards more quickly, PayPal is the way to go, because they will hold your payment for 30 days before they mail it to you.
What you can do to lower electricity use during a peak event
During a heatwave, you might increase the temperature on your thermostat to reduce the amount of power that your air conditioner uses. You can also choose not to run appliances that use a lot of electricity, like washers, dryers, ovens, and dishwashers. Using smart outlets to help reduce unnecessary power use, and installing a smart thermostat, and smart light bulbs can also help you cut back.