When the managing director of an Australian power company last fall suggested that those who leave the electric grid and rely on solar power exclusively are “greedy and selfish,” a fair amount of off-the-grid enthusiasts balked.
Paul Adams, managing director of the Jemena power company, scolded those who said that they were tired of the company’s policies and charges and would leave the company once and for all. The customers, who already had home solar systems in place, had been relying on power from the company when it was too dark or dreary outside for solar power to be collected and used.
“Why don’t you want to do something on a community and social basis, why are you so greedy and selfish?” said Adams, according to Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper. “The grid is of so much value here, why don’t you want to share your energy with your neighbors?”
On a bright, sunny day a solar panel system might collect more power from the sun’s rays than the home can use. Adams believes that electricity should be placed back into the grid.
If you are like me, Adams’ statement is indeed upsetting. From my perspective – which is that of someone trying to live a self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle – disconnecting from the power company is anything but “greedy and selfish.”
Here’s why: It is our desire not to rely on others for the things we need to live out our daily lives. In so doing, we free resources for those not pursuing this lifestyle. When we become “off-grid,” we no longer drain energy from the system. In an age of rolling brownouts, we do our part — and more — to relieve the strain on the electrical infrastructure. In general, we bear the cost of this transition, further belying the greed motivation. Besides, if we remain tied to the power grid when we have solar power, then when the grid does down, our power won’t work, either. That’s why so many users of solar energy cut ties completely from the power grid.
In a crisis, those of us with self-sufficient lifestyles will be of infinite value to our communities. I truly believe that the ability to lend assistance, to help rebuild, and to be a blessing to our neighbors is almost as important to most homesteaders, survivalists and preppers as being able to care for our own. If this doesn’t motivate you, you might want to dust off your Bible and re-evaluate your stance.
But, even if your only motivation is your own family, does this make you “greedy and selfish”? As is always the case, we can get some perspective on that matter from Scripture.
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).
Can it be said that living off-grid is in keeping with making provision for our households? I certainly think that it passes the test for that. Can anyone suggest that God’s Word encourages us to be “greedy and selfish”? I think the answer is a resounding NO! Making provision for our households is a mandate from our Creator — not just in good times but at all times.
First Timothy 5:8 is essentially the prepared household’s creed, and being off-grid allows us to live up to this mandate come what may. By ensuring the security of our own, we lift that burden from others.
Additionally, living off-grid is anything but easy. It can be downright difficult. It requires hard work to ensure the security of our families – and then of others! And that’s anything but selfish.
What we are really seeing in such statements from power companies and government entities is fear. We are approaching a pivotal point. We are reaching a level of technology that is making individual electrical generation and storage systems practical and affordable, and this is a threat to business as usual. It is a threat to the monopolistic hold that utilities have over profits from supplying electricity.
In fairness to Paul Adams, he retracted the statements rather quickly. What he showed, however, is the knee jerk reactions that independent-minded people are constantly facing. We are told that food storage is “hoarding” and that removing yourself from the grid is greedy. The truth, though, is that living off the grid is not selfish, but selfless. Of course, we already knew that.
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