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The Electrici-Tea Party: When Greed Is Not So Good for the Greedy

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Yesterday, I was putting together old planters to build a miniature fish reef for our new catfish pond. I was using the power drill to make some holes in the sides of the planters so that small fish and water could move through them. A pump was running the waterfall for the pond, an aquarium was running inside the house, our water maker was operating, and we had the dishwasher on.

Because it was a half-cloudy day, Mike told me that we had to briefly cut back on power usage so that the batteries for our solar power system would not get drained too low. Rather than turn off the dishwasher, we turned off the waterfall and water maker, and I took a welcome break from drilling holes and did some reading instead. The best thing about timing your power usage is that you can get compulsory breaks from work when the sun goes behind a cloud. About 15 minutes later, Mike gave the go-ahead and I resumed my project of building the fish reef.

After a short time, Mike came to me with a mean-sounding letter from the local power company. They were unhappy because we had not bothered to respond to their earlier voice mail message, mainly because we didn't see much of a point in it. This time, they told us in no uncertain terms that they would cut off our grid power unless we immediately set an appointment for a meeting with them to discuss our solar power system. Mike asked what I wanted to do. Without looking up from my fish reef, I answered:


"Screw them. Tell them to turn it off."

OK, full disclosure here: I did not actually use the word "screw." I used a much saltier term that is more befitting of two Navy veterans such as Mike and myself, who have been known to turn the local atmosphere into an impressive shade of Navy blue when the situation calls for it, as this one did.

So Mike called the guy at the power company. Barely able to contain his amusement, Mike very politely told him, "Go ahead and turn it off whenever you want. We don't need your electricity." After listening for a few minutes to the shocked and sputtered remarks from the power company guy, Mike delivered the coup de grace with dead-pan perfection:


"Actually, we turned it off ourselves a month ago."

After we got over our fit of laughter, we uncorked a bottle of champagne and had ourselves an Electrici-Tea Party, declaring ourselves free and independent of the electricity grid.


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Michael P Byron is the author of The Path Through Infinity's Rainbow: Your Guide to Personal Survival and Spiritual Transformation in a World Gone Mad. This book is a manual for taking effective action to deal with the crises of our age including (more...)
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