Chai Can Be More Than Just Tea

By Devin Garcia 6 Min Read

No matter what time of year it is, electric bills never stop being expensive. Not to mention all of the energy that goes unused and wasted without a single thought. Luckily, the creators of Chai Energy have come up with a solution for the bill paying woes while saving energy at the same time!

While the name suggests maybe an energy drink, Chai Energy isn’t at all what it sounds like. Instead of serving this in your morning coffee mug, Chai Energy is an app that goes installed right on your phone. The best thing about the app is that its free!

But the surprises don’t stop there. Chai Energy simply gathers up your household energy usage data and offers a multitude of new energy saving tips and opportunities. Chai Energy is estimated to reduce its user’s electricity usage by about 20%. Less energy used means more energy saved and more money in pockets.

The idea for Chai Energy originated in Los Angeles, California, where summer months are known for being brutal with sunshine and heat. The Chai app was a solution for those people that were going to run up their electricity bills just to crank their A/Cs on high or run fans all day long.

Founders of Chair Energy, Evan Birenbaum and Cole Hershkowitz, were working at Southern California Edison Electric Company in 2012 when they witnessed the deployment of smart electric meters in homes and other buildings. Smart meters are designed to track and record the usage of energy in electric company customer’s homes. These meters have been replacing the monthly read analog meters, and immediately capture electricity consumption information and send it to electric companies.

Birenbaum and Hershkowitz noticed, though, that these meters were not at all customer friendly. These meters were meant to help a customer track and better understand their energy usage so that customers would be able to save more energy. However, the Chai founders noticed that there were no apps available and the data that was accessible through customer portals was useless.

This is where Birenbaum and his co-founder saw the opportunity to help customers better understand where their money was going and what energy was being used. The Chai Energy app syncs up in tandem with its user’s utility account and home. It lets its users know and see what appliances are using energy, which are working properly, and when the demand for energy is at its highest, so the user knows when to stop the home’s energy consumption.

The creation of Chai Energy was brought forth with the intention to help customers witness energy data directly through a mobile app. Chai app monitors the home and identifies energy saving options, recommends rebates, and offers different incentives, and programs to help its user save on the monthly utility bill.

Chai Energy is backed by Microsoft Ventures, and users have saved anywhere from $120 to $300 a year by using the app and monitoring energy usage. The app offers a Pro Energy saving plan. For $49, Chai Energy puts a device in the home that connects to smart meters and a smart gateway to collect data from the home every 7 seconds. This option allows real-time energy usage viewing, where purchasers can see which appliances are running and be notified of local utility rebates. This was how the customer would then get custom recommendations on energy saving tips and tricks, specifically for the customer’s home. The app also lets is users find contractors through the app to help with home fixes such as leaky windows or installing new insulation.

Chai Energy is only located in California, at the moment, but hopes to expand nationwide over the next few years as smart meters make their way across the nation as well. The company is also working on a notification system for businesses like restaurants that will easily let owners know when an appliance isn’t working properly and needs to be replaced.

Currently, Chai Energy founders are looking at products and different ways to further help customers save money, such as energy efficiency financing and home automation, where the app notify its user one what is using up the most energy. The company is also partnering up with GRID Alternatives to better identify low-income customers who would greatly benefit from free solar panels for energy.

Check out their website and see what else they’re up to at

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