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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Going Offish The Grid


Preppers have many romantic notions.

Among them is the rabbit-hole idea of going totally “off grid” as if there is some advantage to doing so on a daily basis.

The answer—of course—is no. 

There is no advantage.

I am entitled to my opinion.

I don’t care if my prepper card gets revoked.

The saner response is to know what to do when power vanishes and in the meantime to reduce our reliance on the grid.

I live in California where electricity is expensive and not having solar panels on your roof is borderline idiocy.


My conversion to solar through Vivint, cut my Pacific Gas and Electric bill by two-thirds and cost me nothing to do.

I highly endorse Vivint. They are highly professional. I like the trustworthiness of the LDS connection.

Did I mention that I am a card-carrying Catholic?


This will be a bit of a shotgun blast to some preppers, but I am willing to pay Vivint for electricity produced on my roof as well as reaping the credits from PG&E for the electricity that I “sell” back to the grid.

I do not want to own my panels.

Yes, I will not be storing power in batteries for the apocalypse and eating up massive space inside my house for the batteries. 

I'll chance it.

Only a moron wants to own his own solar panels. 

Ready for the “three strikes you’re out” blast?

Because I have no fear in delivering it...

First, solar technology is evolving rapidly, so buying something that is good technology in 2015 will be laughable in 2035 when it’s paid for.

I’m a Mac bigot and there is no way in hell I want my 1995 Macintosh back. It was brilliant in 1995, but would be beyond laughable now.

Do you really want your Windblows 95 PC back?

I thought not. No one likes Windblows.

Second, if I own my solar panels, I have to pay for all maintenance out of pocket. 

With Vivint, I pay nothing for maintenance.

Third, if I own my own solar panels, upgrading to new technology is prohibitively expensive, whereas a company like Vivint can swap out old technology for new in a win-win proposition.

I win because all excess efficiency comes back to me in credits from PG&E.

Vivint wins because they have a satisfied customer.


Beyond that—however—is our goal of reducing our reliance on the grid.

I have an 18 x 36 foot living room with high mounted lights that I never use. I love the expansiveness of the room, but I do not need to light all 864 square feet of space with light. 

Instead, I have four table lamps in the room that give direct illumination as I need it where I need it. 

Even with people over, I use the lamps because they are softer and more inviting.

I have the infernal CFL bulbs in the lamps and will be converting to LED the minute the environment-unfriendly CFLs die.

I listen to music on my MacBook Air as I work rather than turning on my super-awesome stereo.

I use ambient light to the maximum extent possible.

In summer, I turn on the air conditioner when the house’s internal temperature reaches 82 degrees. 

I use fans with a passion to avoid air conditioning and thereby reduce my reliance on the grid.


Buy some chianti.

Drink some chianti.

Save the bottles.

Buy candles.

Stick candles in the bottles.

Light them.

Reduce your "gridependence" on the electric company.



Candles are cheap. Have you thought of using 100-hour candles for light instead of electric lights while watching TV?

I am all for mindful use of resources. If what we need is basic illumination then candles are a beyond-cheap alternative to making PG&E rich.

Go to WinCo Foods and buy your 100-hour candles.

If you need real illumination for a task, then go on grid and use it.

The point in all of this is balance.

You’re not Chicken Little and the sky is not falling, but instead of living like it has already fallen, you could prepare for a possibility.

Why live in a perpetual SHTF moment or a TEOTWAWKI outcome?


Instead, live frugally and be mindfully intelligent.

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