Are any of you off-the-grid and how did you get there?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18
  1. #1
    Registered User HomeschoolMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    116
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default Are any of you off-the-grid and how did you get there?

    I am sitting here fuming. We just got out hydro bill for Dec 13-Jan14 and it was $667.00!!!!

    Now our hydro bill is usually pretty high at $390/month because we have a fairly large home with a full apartment that the inlaws live in. But this is $280 more for 1 month???

    Anyway, I called our hydro company to 'dispute' the bill and explained to them that in November we started shutting off all unused appliances, we drained and disconnected our hot tub for the winter, turned both hot water heaters down, unplugged the water cooler and haven't been using the electric dryer either. Our heat is not electric, it's gas.

    They recently changed our hydro meter and I am wondering if they screwed something up and misread the old meter when they removed it.

    The company is insisting that they don't make mistakes and that our bill is correct, the csr absolutely refused to put me through to management or anyone that could help deal with this.

    Basically I was told that my bill is correct and I have to pay it. So, needless to say I feel like they've got me between a rock and a hard place and neither dh or I like it much. And there is only 1 hydro company so it's not like I can switch, either.

    We were considering solar and wind energy before but this incident may just be the push we need to speed things up a notch.

    Does anyone know much about solar/wind power. Do you use it? Are there other ways to get off the grid?

  2. #2
    Rude and Vile Master Greebo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Age
    45
    Posts
    8,562
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    76

    Default

    Wind you need a lot of space, I understand. What kind of acreage do you have?

    Solar is expensive up front, so much so that return on investment takes up to or more than a decade, last I checked. Solar up north right now, still not a good option. Not enough light in the day for you. Give solar a couple years - the new panels and coatings being developed are gonna cut solar down to a fraction of current installation costs.
    If you could kick in the pants the person responsible for your problems, you wouldn't be able to sit for a month.

    Did you know that a 4 year student paying $20,000/year who finances their education graduates with over $103,000 in debt to start? But a student who works and pays cash and takes 6 years to graduate ends with $6,300 in their pocket! So much for "getting a head start by financing!"


    Greebo
    (Nerd Spender): Loving and extremely patiently tolerated husband of ceashels.
    WARNING: Y Chromosome behind the keyboard. Adjust your listening filters appropriately!

    Three
    Two mortgages, two one no car loans, one no credit cards, and a partridge in pear tree!

  3. #3
    Registered User dogmatix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    87
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Greebo is right. I'm so wanting to get solar but the upfront costs combined with the mediocre efficiency has stopped any plans right now. I'm always hoping though. On thing you might try is a solar water heater. They are more efficient and less costly that traditional l home solar panels. Good luck and don't give up on solar yet!

  4. #4
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Western Canada
    Posts
    3,137
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Blog Entries
    158
    Rep Power
    18

    Default

    I would call back ans to speak to a supervisor upfront, not messing with the CSR.
    Mommy4ever to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom to 2 youngest.

    • BEF: Goal 1 met....
    • CC1 pif - Jan 30
    • cc2 pif - feb 28
    • LOC PIF - Nov 29/13
    • Car(personal loan of 9 days) - PIF Dec 2/13
    • Debt repayment: 100% paid off as of Dec 2/13
    • vacation fund for family vacation goal Dec/14
    • FFEF 0/6 months
    • Retirement savings to start
    • Mortgage


    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce


    The plan: All debt to be eliminated in 12 months(STILL ON TRACK) Paid in full after 10 months. Dh is the captain of this ship, this time, and we're sailing into the sunset. Who'd have thought, but this has brought us so much closer and stronger.




  5. #5
    Registered User HomeschoolMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    116
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Thanks to everyone for your responses so far.

    To Grebo: Re: Wind power. We have 5 acres, 2 are bush, so 3 usable acres. Not sure if that's viable for wind power but I do now that our township allows it.

    To Mommy4Ever: I repeatedly asked this csr to speak to a manager or to be transferred to someone that deals with discrepancies and she absolutely refused! It was just ridiculous, honestly!

    I did call back again and spoke to a more reasonable fellow. He directed me to their website to check out a few possibilities. But, he absolutely admitted that they could have made a mistake and said if I wasn't satisfied after visiting their website to call again - which I will.

    Disappointing to think that solar might not be possible for a couple of years yet.

    Anyone know anything about proprane or gas generators.

    What about all those sites online that sell you books on how to make your own? Is that totally ridiculous or entirely possible?

    Thanks so much for your help!!!

  6. #6
    Rude and Vile Master Greebo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Age
    45
    Posts
    8,562
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    76

    Default

    Some US based wind power info. I know you're in CA but ...
    http://www.awea.org/faq/rsdntqa.html
    If you could kick in the pants the person responsible for your problems, you wouldn't be able to sit for a month.

    Did you know that a 4 year student paying $20,000/year who finances their education graduates with over $103,000 in debt to start? But a student who works and pays cash and takes 6 years to graduate ends with $6,300 in their pocket! So much for "getting a head start by financing!"


    Greebo
    (Nerd Spender): Loving and extremely patiently tolerated husband of ceashels.
    WARNING: Y Chromosome behind the keyboard. Adjust your listening filters appropriately!

    Three
    Two mortgages, two one no car loans, one no credit cards, and a partridge in pear tree!

  7. #7
    Rude and Vile Master Greebo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Age
    45
    Posts
    8,562
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    76
    If you could kick in the pants the person responsible for your problems, you wouldn't be able to sit for a month.

    Did you know that a 4 year student paying $20,000/year who finances their education graduates with over $103,000 in debt to start? But a student who works and pays cash and takes 6 years to graduate ends with $6,300 in their pocket! So much for "getting a head start by financing!"


    Greebo
    (Nerd Spender): Loving and extremely patiently tolerated husband of ceashels.
    WARNING: Y Chromosome behind the keyboard. Adjust your listening filters appropriately!

    Three
    Two mortgages, two one no car loans, one no credit cards, and a partridge in pear tree!

  8. #8
    Registered User fixer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    central Kentucky
    Age
    49
    Posts
    980
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Blog Entries
    113
    Rep Power
    13

    Default

    I am not sure what rate you pay for power. Look at how many kilowatt hours you used and compare it to previous bills. From what you said, you may not have the load to use that much power even if everything is running constantly. Look at the amount of power you paid for not the dollar amount. Charges and rates change but power consumption should not given a constant load.
    Last edited by fixer; 02-06-2009 at 12:04 PM.

  9. #9
    Registered User tammy8701's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    beaverton,ontario,canada
    Posts
    183
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    hi homeschoolmom
    l have 10 solar panels 2 wind turbine and 12 batteries it was the best investment we made now mind you this is not cheap,plus a ground source furance. now we have a 1800 square foot house and a granny flat apt thats 21x21 it has electric heat 2 bedroom we were paying $665.00 a month for hydro our last bill was 239.00 thats paying for both places hydro is all in one my parents lived in the apt and my mom was really sick so the electric heat was crank she passed away last year in may 2007 and my dad in dec 2007 so in aug 2008 a older couple ask us if we wanted to rent out the apt which dh and l figured this was the best thing to do its sitting there empty for 8 months and the extra income would help so long story short l dont know how much hydro they use but like l said the last bill was 239.00 its a long cry from 665.00 a month now back in aug before they moved into the apt l had a hydro bill for 40.00 plus all the dump other charges it came to 110.00(gst ,delivery,regulatory charges and debt retirement charges)which really pi$$'s me off that we have to pay these, if you have any other questions just ask l will try to answer the best l can or l will get dh to answer the questions for me sorry l went on so long dh is the one that knows more about this then l do,here is where we bought ours

    http://www.solexsolar.com/index.html
    they are great to work with and explanis things to you where you understand it l see you are in canada so am l,l am about 1 half hours north east of toronto in a town called beaverton
    the orignal blades that come with the turbine are not the best we bought blades that are 4 inches longer and 5 inches wider witch makes the turbine go faster(if you dont use the orignal blades you dont have warrnaty)if you need more information dh can answer it for you he help me with this info,and they do payment plans to dont pay for a year and yes we have seen the money we saved so far, right now we are selling and the meter is going backwards
    Last edited by tammy8701; 02-06-2009 at 01:39 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered User HomeschoolMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    116
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Greebo - Thanks so much for those links! I'll be sure to check them out.

    Fixer - According to my bill they are saying that we are using 40KWH more per DAY! than our previous bills.

    We pay 8.79c/kwh this is the same rate we've been paying for the last 2 years and is locked in until 2012. Of course, it is possible that they have put rates up on their other ridiculous charges - like delivery charge, debt retirement charge (due to mismanagement in the 90's), provincial regulation charge.

    If you include this last outrageous bill we are using an average of 89KWH/day. (This past month they say we used 134 kwh/day). It looks to me like our regular average is around 81kwh/day.

    I'm also looking into switching to 'on-demand' hot water heaters. Maybe that'll help.

    Most of our appliances are new or newer with the exception of 1 fridge which will be going out to the curb this weekend. I wonder if that fridge could be starting to malfunction and using more electricity?? It seems to be working fine - just colder than usual which I chalked up to being in our insulated, but unheated porch - it's generally about 5 degrees colder out there than in the house.

    I just hate feeling like I'm being held hostage and that I should just be happy to be in that position, you know??

  11. #11
    Registered User HomeschoolMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    116
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Hey Tammy, we must have been posting at pretty much the same time! lol.

    You are only about 1/2 hr or so away from me. We're in between Sharon and Mt. Albert!

    I'm going to check out that company and see if it's worth it for us. Thanks so much for posting. I'll likely be back with some questions for you!

  12. #12
    Registered User JanieD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Southeast
    Posts
    1,384
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HomeschoolMom View Post
    I just hate feeling like I'm being held hostage and that I should just be happy to be in that position, you know??
    I totally agree! My rates have really gone up this past year, but my usage is down until this month (heat pump problem & colder temps). My bills have this cost adjustment each month that adds 20-25%. What is that? I've had several issues with my electric company besides the rates. Honestly they don't care about my concerns/issues since I have no choice but to pay what they charge. I'd like to show them there are other options. So keep those suggestions coming!


    February Groceries $282/275 Pet Supplies $121/130
    Coupons $28.72
    January Groceries $285/275 Pet Supplies $133/130
    Coupons $38.14
    Coupon Saving 2014 $66.86
    2013 $404.44
    2012 $395.16




  13. #13
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Boundary Waters, Minnesota
    Posts
    8,743
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    52

    Default

    You may be able to get on a plan where they can cut your power to certain appliances when they want to. We pay a MUCH lower rate for our air source heat pump because they have the option to cycle it off and on every fifteen minutes during peak times, like when it's really hot and everyone is running AC. We get the savings, but don't see any difference in performance, so it's a total win for us.

    If you have a large enough water heater, you can have it set up so it only heats during off-peak hours.

    I doubt you'd want to switch to propane. We heat with propane and it's very expensive for us. Using a genset isn't very efficient compared to electricity, I don't think, but I haven't done the research to know for sure. Generators are noisy though, even 'quiet' ones.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you.” -Mildred Lisette Norman
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  14. #14
    Registered User tammy8701's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    beaverton,ontario,canada
    Posts
    183
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HomeschoolMom View Post
    Hey Tammy, we must have been posting at pretty much the same time! lol.

    You are only about 1/2 hr or so away from me. We're in between Sharon and Mt. Albert!

    I'm going to check out that company and see if it's worth it for us. Thanks so much for posting. I'll likely be back with some questions for you!
    funny small world sure you can get back anytime with questions, l may have to get dh to answer some of them he knows more about this then l do but we will help as much as we can, good luck

  15. #15
    Registered User HomeschoolMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    116
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Thank you Tammy. I have checked out their website and emailed them so hopefully will hear back from them early next week.
    Candis

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Who lives off grid?
    By Sophiasmama in forum Green Living
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 05-01-2012, 08:19 PM
  2. Wonder if anyone lives off the grid here?
    By Beemerchef in forum General Chat
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-11-2009, 08:37 PM
  3. Where's our off the grid guru?
    By Missy in forum Utilities
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-27-2007, 10:43 PM
  4. 30 days - off the grid
    By swapthing in forum Leisure & Media Arts
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-27-2005, 08:43 PM
  5. Going off grid
    By homesteadmamma in forum Homesteading and gardening
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-12-2003, 08:38 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •