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#134866 - 12/05/02 11:05 AM Living off the grid
pauluk Offline
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7520
Loc: Norfolk, England
In your respective countries, is there much demand for people who wish to live off the grid? Do you see many people installing their own generators, PV system, miniature wind farms, and so on?

A regulatory point: If your country has certain mandatory standards and practices for wiring, do these apply only to installation supplied directly by a utility company, or are the rules applicable to non-grid systems as well?
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#134867 - 12/05/02 11:13 AM Re: Living off the grid
CTwireman Offline
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 840
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I expect as electricity gets more expensive, the demand for "grid freedom" and associated devices (solar panels, fuels cells, etc) will continue to grow.

Here in the Northeast U.S., we pay around 10-12 cents per KW, which is the among the highest in the country.

However, I suspect that this is probably quite low by Euro standards, much like gasoline (petrol) is here.

[This message has been edited by CTwireman (edited 12-05-2002).]
#134868 - 12/05/02 12:18 PM Re: Living off the grid
Texas_Ranger Offline
Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2391
Loc: Vienna, Austria
I don't think so. For our physics class we always took 15 cents per kwh, and I don't think it's much more around the country.
#134869 - 12/05/02 12:30 PM Re: Living off the grid
SvenNYC Offline
Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1691
Loc: New York City

Were those American pennies, British pence, Euro-cents or old Austrian shilling pfennigs (I know they're pfennige in Germany, but was it the same in Austria)?
#134870 - 12/05/02 04:16 PM Re: Living off the grid
David UK Offline
Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 134
Loc: Inverness, Scotland
At last, something that's cheaper in the UK than the US!
I pay the following rates for electricity:
Day rate; 6.43 UK pence (9.71 US cents) / Kwh
Night rate (8 hrs); 2.67 UKp (4.03 USc) / Kwh

To go back to the topic, I have only seen 1 "off grid" installation.
It was in a remote part of the Highlands,& the home owner could not afford the quote from the PoCo, so she had a generator & inverter (for night use) installed.
The generator & inverter set up fried the electronics of 3 central heating programmers.
#134871 - 12/05/02 04:23 PM Re: Living off the grid
Bjarney Offline
Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2527
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
It is interesting to see what’s on the internet. As a “bread and butter” {economic survival} issue, my take in the US is that mainstream electrical folks {inspectors and contractors} support building codes, with or without a 60Hz feed from somewhere. There certainly are cases of “If you don’t get caught you’re OK” frame of mind. It’s being done formally and legally in California and other west coast states, and there is one unusual twist—selling back excess AC power to electric utilities. Some sites are

(There are a number of other links at the cited ones here.)
#134872 - 12/05/02 09:32 PM Re: Living off the grid
Trumpy Offline

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8211
Loc: SI,New Zealand
The demand for Non-Grid supplies over here in
New Zealand, is quite big.
When the Electricity Regulations changed here
in 1992, the main generation company,ECNZ, lost its monopoly, over power generation.
Before this, you were required to have a Grid
supplied installation, regardless, of where
you lived or if you wanted it or not, this was your only option for a Power supply.
Nowadays, things are very much different,
thanks to the Green movement in the US and here, we now have Wind generators, Solar Water systems and water-powered systems
(although, not as popular).
Because these may back-feed into the Grid,
they must be synchronised and they also have
to have a myriad network of interlocks, contactors, etc.
Just a shame we have no-one from Australia in our Forums, Non-Grid use is huge over there, especially in the Outback.

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 12-06-2002).]
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin
#134873 - 12/06/02 03:37 AM Re: Living off the grid
Texas_Ranger Offline
Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2391
Loc: Vienna, Austria
I was talking of euro-cents, Euro is slightly above US$ now, but within rounding to the 2nd decimal digit.
Old smaller unit to Schilling was Groschen, 100 Groschen = 1 Schilling.
1 Euro = 13.7603 Schilling.
We set it on 2 Schilling per kwh, i.e. 15 cents.
#134874 - 12/06/02 08:55 AM Re: Living off the grid
pauluk Offline
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7520
Loc: Norfolk, England
Electricity prices are one of the very few things which are actually still quite reasonable in the U.K. From TXU Energi here in Norfolk, my current rates are:

Day 6.64p (10.42 cents) per kWh
Night 2.82p (4.43 cents) per kWh
Standing charge is £11.36 ($17.84) per qtr.
Including tax, converted at current rate of £1 = U.S. $1.57.

Gasoline is quite another matter. Current price here works out to U.S. $4.39 per gallon, thanks to the 300% tax imposed upon it by the vultures at Westminster.

Interesting links, thanks. I'll mark those sites and have a good look round when I have a little more time.

I don't know of anyone running a home off the grid around here, although there has been an experimental wind-farm just down the road (Winterton, Norfolk) for some years now working as a commercial project.

Are you telling us that prior to 1992 in NZ it was actually illegal to install you own power supply (of whatever type) for use on your own property? I'm sure that most of us would consider such a law to be totally unconstitutional.

What would have happened if somebody installed their own generator/PV system and told the PoCo that he no longer required service and asked them to disconnect it? Would they have refused to do so?
#134875 - 12/08/02 03:41 AM Re: Living off the grid
sparky Offline
Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5303
I do off grid installs. I took a 'solar course' a while ago, was the only 'lectrician there, and subsequently have been involved since then.

There is a monetary aspect here, ( we are $.0117 KWH) as the 'bottom line' has attracted the mainstream public these days, as opposed to the sandal wearing dreadlock sporting crusaders of the past.

Our history here has gone 180 deg. from the Rural Electrification Program* , after WW2 I believe, when poco's would actually knock on your door selling themselves, to expensive line extentions ($11 OH $18 UG prim)

The inital poco install, plus monthly fees that can be easily amortized over , say a decade, justify quite the alt. power setup.

This, of course is most attractive to those whom choose house sites here waaaay out in the puckerbrush, many don't even realise when there's a power failure.

*( any old timers here from the REP era?)
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