Florida Makes Off-Grid Living Illegal – Mandates All Homes Must Be Connected To Electricity & Water Grid


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Robin Speronis lives off the grid in Florida, completely independent of the city’s water and electric system. A few weeks ago, officials ruled her off-grid home illegal. Officials cited the International Property Maintenance Code, which mandates that homes be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source.

That’s like saying our dependency on corporations isn’t even a choice. The choice to live without most utilities has been ongoing for Robin, the self-sufficient woman has lived for more than a year and a half using solar energy, a propane camping stove and rain water.

In the end, she was found not guilty of not having a proper sewer or electrical system; but was guilty of not being hooked up to an approved water supply.

Speronis is still being hassled by the municipality of Cape Coral for not having a connection to city water, nor proper sewage. That. regardless of the fact the city capped her sewers themselves.

Robin Speronis during a news interview.

Robin Speronis during a news interview.

Is Off-Grid Really Illegal?

In essence yes. To live off the grid means to not have to hook up to any corporate or municipal utilities. If a municipality makes it illegal to disconnect from any given utility, they are in essence making off grid living illegal.

“It means living independently, mainly living independently of the utility companies. Providing your own power. It does not mean living in the stone age, it’s not about bush craft. It’s about generating your own power, your own water, dealing with your own waste. Probably as part of a community, not living on your own like a hermit. It’s also about being more self-reliant and being less dependent on the system. Perhaps realizing that the system isn’t really protecting us anymore and we have to look after ourselves.” - George Noory

Exploring Our Potential Beyond The Grid

Our potential as a human race is quite extraordinary, we just don’t realize it. Sustainable living is not about giving up a certain lifestyle. We can still have all the modern amenities, design and beyond. We simply need to transition from one way of seeing housing to another.

One potential issue with off the grid living is that corporations will lose their ability to control others with their utility. This could be the type of political and corporate agreements that give people like Speronis issues to begin with.

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozled has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” - Carl Sagan

Moving Away From Dependence

The human race does not need to be dependent on these corporations for basic needs in the manner we have now. While we continue to feed this dependency, the planet continues to suffer. In order to move forward, we must start cooperating with each other, and realize just how much potential we have to create something  we can take into our own hands and do sustainably. We can’t wait for these coproations to come up with solutions as they will likely be very profit oriented.

Another Case of State Hassle

Earlier this year, Texas state brought several SWAT teams to a sustainable community and threatened to shut it down. Each one of the community members were initially handcuffed at gunpoint. It was called “The Garden of Eden Community,” and was totally self sustainable. You can read more about that here.

Sources:

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/the-stream/the-stream-officialblog/2014/2/25/florida-court-challengesoffthegridliving.html

http://www.offthegridnews.com/2014/02/22/court-rules-off-the-grid-living-is-illegal/

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CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Angela Powell

    I didn’t read all the comments, bit do u know the cost of hooking up?? Herr it can be around $8000 just for sewer! So even if they don’t use the water and electricity, she has to pay to hook it all up! Totally wrong!

  2. wow, that’s mean for the government to force them to connect to electricity and water.
    for me, if you just want to use any of the “government services” that’s all you have to pay, let’s say you’re going to use the sewer, that’s it… pay for that particular service nothing more, but to force you to use other than that ( even if you have the means to live off-grid ), it’s more of dominion issue here.

    i’m living in philippines and the cost of electricity here is ridiculously expensive and i’m saving up a couple of solar panels and batteries and hopefully there’ll be no trouble here like the one their facing over there about the government trying to force us to connect to their services even it’s not needed anymore.

  3. Wojo

    This is a ‘devil’s in the details’ case, the inaccurate reporting is a rather astonishing example of how agenda driven hysteria mongering can now traverse the globe in an instant. First off, she is not ‘off the grid’. Her home is in basically a subdivision. It is no secret that most municipalities have ordinances mandating that homes within the municipality be hooked up to water and power sources. Whiie it may be time to update those laws now that Solar is a real possibility for ordinary homeowners, its not unreasonable to require that homes have running water and power. The Florida Building Code imbues local regulators to grant exemptions, too.

    This is one of those cases where both parties were at fault but agenda depending, facts are selective reported and fluffed up. This woman was NOT “off the grid”, she was just violating code, however the city screwed the pooch by trying to bring a code enforcement action based on the IBC. Someone got way too big for their britches there and neglected to clear their action with the city attorney, because that is COMPLETELY untenable in a code enforcement matter

    Lastly, this is not “Florida” making an edict. Its one municipality, one kooky lady and one turdfest of a code enforcement department. To be sure, Florida is totally improperly regulated on the solar front, strong indicators suggest that special interests with power companies are to blame for current solar regulations (and not in a conspiracy theory way- they are seriously afraid for their bottom lines in a state that has near limitless sunshine in an era of radically decreasing solar system prices)

    None of these articles on this matter are fact based.

    • GI JAKE

      your probably right about the article. However, this is America and no city has the right to even think about someone’s private land, much less have these stupid “codes” about it, taking the peoples right away to pursue happiness is Absolutely OUTRAGEOUS, we need to get rid of these property taxes and private property regulations once and for all

  4. RisingPhoenix

    so let them hook up their utilities to your home. That doesn’t mean you have to USE them. Just cut your water off at the main and flip the OFF switch on your fuse box. They may be able to force you to hook it up but they can’t force you to USE it.

    • Dave Romain

      Rising Phoenix, I love you…. That is as intelligent solution as I could muster, myself. It’s just that simple.

      • GI JAKE

        What if they don’t want all that garbage in around and under her house

  5. Just a thought, but don’t you have to buy a piece of land to build / live on? If so, at the very least, you’re doomed to pay taxes on it yearly. No?

  6. Ben Ghazi

    The way this is supposed to be changed is by electing a representative who will REPRESENT the interest of the people. If this is not the case, then there is corruption. If there is government corruption, it is the duty of the citizenry to replace said government.
    BTW: There are many places in Florida on private wells. Not sure about independent power though.

  7. see this is not entirely true. In her particular area, this may be the case….however where I live in florida, living off of the grid would be perfectly legal. I have a water well system, and a septic system, both meet all codes. If I converted to solar energy and disconnected my phone / cable, I would be 100% off grid, legally.

    • David Pinkham

      Here in MA if city/town water/sewer go in front of your house you must be hooked up. Failure to do so will result in a lien against your property. This happened to a friend of mine who spent 50+K on a new septic and leaching field and well. A year maybe two the town ran water/sewer up his street. The lien consisted of the average cost of residential and business water usage per year. Cost per foot of frontage of pipes and hook up to the house. Not once, but each year added.

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  10. it,s ok if they turn off your water and electric,gas for non payment and they,ll never turn you back on until u pay up. I think what your doing is wonderful people have been living without these since the begining of time. We all know it,s the almighty dollar.

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  13. Occupy Cape Corral!!! ZERO POLLUTION ZERO WASTE!!!! #zpzw

  14. Eric

    No government, city, state or federal, can demand some one connect to “city” utilities if a person has a safe (sanitary) alternative and if you declare religious association.

    Otherwise every single Amish home, community or village would be in violation.

    Just remember that the alternative must be healthy and safe according to codes and laws.

    The story said she was not guilty of the power and some others BUT guilty on the water because it was rain water and not a proper sewer waste system.

    • Remember – those are PUBLIC utilities. Owned by the citizens. Managed by corporations. Who rent us back our own property. Our lawmakers write the terms of the lease. Fire the property managers and demand our common wealth back.

    • That is incorrect. Local governments can pass whatever laws they wish. They then have to be challenged and struck down by a higher court. Such was the case with Jim Crow laws in the south, during desegregation.

  15. First a question, what about areas that aren’t connected such as islands off the coast & in the Keys or areas in the Everglades. You cannot live on your own land unless you pay thousands of $ to connect? Ok, you buy a house, you are required to pay to connect (and don’t forget the deposit) and pay the monthly minimum even if you don’t use it? Or you are fined monthly by the city/county till you connect? So, you don’t pay the monthly minimum cause you aren’t using it, they turn off your utllities and notify the city/county for fines to add up? After all the utility company’s do pay taxes to the city/county! If you don’t need the utilities the city looses money. And, even if you do not need electricity, you cannot be connected to water without electricity because the water meter runs off electricity. And sewage isn’t but a few dollars on your water bill, 3/4 of the bill is for trash collection.

    • Most residential water meters do NOT require an outside source of electricity. The exception would be a smart water meter.

      “Displacement water meters

      This type of water meter is most often used in residential and small commercial applications. Displacement meters are commonly referred to as Positive Displacement, or “PD” meters. Two common types are oscillating piston meters and nutating disk meters. Either method relies on the water to physically displace the moving measuring element in direct proportion to the amount of water that passes through the meter. The piston or disk moves a magnet that drives the register.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_metering

      • Janet

        But Richard there is still the “cost of nothing” — even if you never turn the water main, Kathryn is right — you may a “convenience” fee. Same with electricity. And those fees can be significant.

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  17. What a corrupt state , the ” Sunshine State ” , banning off grid .

  18. Chris

    It sounds to me that Florida is just looking for the profit from the corporations which supplies the power and water. With people living totally independent from these services they dont get the huge profits which is why Florida has made it illegal to live independently off the grid. Its all about the money to these people and they want every penny from everyone that has to use these service. They do not care about renewable energy they only want the huge profits from people.

  19. Deborah Coleman

    people should be subsidized for living off the grid & corporations should be fined for their carbon foot print, especially when they are the ones who have the $$ and can afford the technology that promotes clean renewable sources of energy. We’re concerned about global warming & drastic changes in the world’s climate yet aren’t promoting people or companies who are living responsibly… oh the irony!!

  20. Heidi

    Power to those who can live completely self sufficient and not pay a dime to Big Corporations. As long as it is clean and responsible to the environment. Way to go and keep fighting.

  21. Kallie Jurgens

    Tarzan lived “off the grid”; why can’t anybody else?

    • Dear people in Florida and in the USA, I’m a European person, and what’s happening in your country would be unthinkable in Europe. For the moment, that is. Big companies like e.g. Monsanto have introduced their format of ‘succesful’ business, that leaves customers no choice at all. If other multinationals follow their example without being stopped, it’ll not be unlikely that within some time we could all be reduced to robotic slaves to realise profits for big businesses. Another example: the Neem-tree which for thousands of years provided medicine to people in India (I think it was India) and which suddenly was patented and ‘branded’ by a big firm just for their profit.
      Beware!

      • james

        Actaully it is happening in europe and alot of other nasty laws are being introduced there….The EU is just as bad if not worse in many ways.

        • That is not so. Europe has 9 of the 15 largest solar markets in the world, and Germany leads the way. Corporations are powerful there, but they do not OWN the government as is the case here.

      • We are already used for profit and when people
        turn to their own ability to supply their own needs, those who have made money from people being dependent upon them stand to lose MONEY

      • The wheels are in motion in Spain with people using just solar power

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