Help – It’s Illegal to Live Off-Grid!

It seems like every politician spouts rhetoric about how they support sustainability and promote the use of clean energy, but it’s mostly bunk. In fact, it’s illegal in some states, such as Florida, to live off the power grid.

Even if you have enough solar or wind juice to run indefinitely, you are still required by law to be connected to the power grid and to pay your electric bill, even if you don’t use a single iota of power from the utilities company.

Your home must also be attached to an approved sewer and a clean supply of water, but this is often fairly easy to work around. It’s the power that gets you.

Now, just to be clear, it’s not illegal to power your house with solar panels or use your own water filtration system or composting toilets; it’s just that you still have to pay the money to Big Utilities, too. Any way that you look at it, it rubs. At best, you’re paying money you don’t need to spend. At worst, you’re chained to the electricity grid whether you want to be or not.

We’ve recently had a question asked of us by one of you, dear readers:

How can you live off the grid if it’s illegal in Florida? Can you homestead and still go unnoticed? How can you do it and still stay safe?

I have an answer to these questions, but they’re not exactly ideal. First, do your thing. If you want to run your house off of solar panels, then by all means, do so!

If you want to use rainwater and a filtration system to meet your water needs? OK, what are you waiting for?

Just Because You Are Connected, Doesn’t Mean You Have to Use It

The laws only say that you have to be connected; not that you have to use it. For the most part, there’s no reason that you can’t homestead if you live in a state that requires this. Yes, it’s true that you’re not allowed to have a permanent dwelling that isn’t attached to the grid, and many city regulations disallow the ownership of livestock in city limits.

Right now, unless you’re willing to buck the system (I believe somebody should), you’re just going to have to suck it up and do it, as long as you want to live on the right side of the law. You can always have the electricity connected, then not pay the bill, but if you do, it’s legal for them to revoke your certificate of occupancy.

In essence, these regulations are simply devices used to protect Big Utilities under the guise of consumer protection. As usual, they know better than you what’s best for you.

Unfortunately, there was a case a few years ago that was used over and over again to support this fact, but the bottom line is that I lived in that city at that exact time, and it wasn’t her right to live off-grid that was what got her shut down.

You have to live in a manner that promotes health and well-being. In other words, you have to have clean water and you can’t just dump your sewer down the drain, which is what was going on in that situation.

But some misguided, misinformed people got ahold of pieces of information and ran with it before they had the whole story. It didn’t do anything to help the cause other than just make people look dumb by those who know what really went down.

Still, it’s true that, by law, you have to be hooked to power and have a clean supply of water and a sanitary waste disposal method if you follow the rules in Florida.

Now that you know that you basically have no legal rights when it comes to refusing public utilities, let’s look at what you can do within the scope of the law. You always have the option of saying the hell with the laws, but do that at your risk.

Living off the grid

Trust me – if you do decide to go off-grid in Florida, or anywhere else you aren’t allowed to free yourself of the strong-arming, you won’t be alone. Many people in Florida live successfully off the grid – they just do it right so that they don’t get caught. They don’t go pouring their waste down public sewers.

My advice? Keep your house hooked up, but have your off-grid methods in use. Don’t let them tell you that you can’t use them because you can. Unfortunately, you’ll still have a nominal bill for the pleasure of looking at the wiring at the end of the month, but you won’t have the same expense as if you’d use it.

I’m not going to say “living off-grid” because that’s not legal, but you can certainly live independently and sustainably.

If you have property that’s out of the way and you’ve decided to say to hell with the law and do as you please, you may want to build an outhouse, collect rainwater and filter it properly to meet your drinking, cooking, and hygiene needs, and find a way to stay cool or warm. Many choose solar panels to meet that need.

One Step Further

The next thing that you need to do in order to successfully live off-grid is to fight the laws that restrict you.

For example, there’s a proposed Amendment to our constitution that supposedly advances the use of solar power, but in reality, it’s setting the Big Utilities up to continue their monopoly on power in our state. Start by voting NO on 1, and on any other proposed law changes that take more of our rights and give more power to the government or Big Utilities/Pharma.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that you own your life. If you want to live off the grid completely and risk getting caught, then do so. If you want to work within the parameters of the law and pay a few bucks per month for utilities that you don’t use, then go for it.

Regardless of what decision you make, make it for the best interest of yourself and those you love, because it’s a sure bet that you’re the only one who will.

There will come a time when you will face severe environments without power, water, fuel or means to buy food. The only way to survive is to learn how to live independently and sustainably.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • This has been one of my pet ‘crusades’ outside of the main one against anti-2nd/A Totalitarianism. In some states there are laws where a power company must buy back your ‘excess’ power produced by off gridders with serious solar systems… Things like This are accomplished because the people got off their self centered asses and got organized and filed and won class actions against their greedy tax drunk patronage addicted wastrel municipalities… and then fired them on election days!

  • How about a list of states like Florida, that won’t allow you to live off the grid?
    I also heard some states out West require you to have a meter on your well and charge you for usage.

  • The first lesson in law is there is ALWAYS a “loophole”!……And why is that? Because laws are not written to protect life, liberty and property. Laws are written by lawyers for the sole purpose of employing lawyers. Want proof? Hillary Clinton, a lawyer, was represented by a lawyer when she was investigated by the FBI, which employs a huge number of lawyers, that answers to the AG, Loretta Lynch, the nations top lawyer. Results?…According to the FBI (Fraudulent Bunch of Incompetents) she clearly violated the national security act, HOWEVER (drum roll please) according to the FBI, there was no “intent” (read “loophole”) so no crime, but instead, a bunch of paychecks for lawyers! Yes kids, that is how American jurisprudence works!

    So, first rule of survival when you want to go “Galt”…….pick a state that gives you a fighting chance. And sorry Floridians, while I have enjoyed touring your state, it ain’t “pioneer friendly”! The mountains or the desert are your best shot at “pioneering”……….and last time I checked, Florida had neither (unless you are counting beach sand and the Matterhorn!). But if you insist on living in gatorville and want to stay of the grid, think “axles”. If you have to rotate the tires on your domicile, the odds are you just found your loophole! And a used 53′ long, 8′ wide, 14′ tall semi trailer dry van can make one heck of a roomy and affordable little house!

  • “The laws only say that you have to be connected;”……Please show me a “Real” law that says I “Have” to be connected to their greedy monopoly. As far as I have studied, that which most call “Laws” are no more than cod and statute, and these are “NOT” law, they are “Legislated”, they are not law…..and last I looked, there is nowhere in the Bill of Rights, nor in our Constitution that says we have to do something just because someone else is greedy for our hard earned money. What this all amounts to, is corporate coercion to comply with their ignorant policies, which they themselves do not adhere to….this is the same thing that goes on within this corrupt govt.

    They , like all other corporations and politicians, can be taken to the courts for violation of our rights…under Title 18 USC § 241 – Conspiracy against rights, and Title 18 USC § 242 – Deprivation of rights under color of law….both of which are punishable by fine, and/or imprisonment. people need to stand up and know their rights, while they still have a chance to do so…..otherwise, you are just capitulating to their whims and allowing hem to manipulate you into compliance with their corporate greed….in essense, you become their slave…