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.
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.