Monday, September 7, 2015

Nova Scotia woman forced to connect to power grid to get occupancy permit

Cheryl Smith was building a small house close to Clark's Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada a year ago. The house remains unfinished as she has been denied an occupancy permit since her plans do not include hooking up to the electrical grid.
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Near the door of the unfinished small house are two signs, one saying "Freedom of Rights Denied" and the other saying "Work Stopped". Smith said to CTV Atlantic:"I just don't want to leave a big footprint on the earth. If what we're trying to do is move the world into a greener place and make it more environmentally friendly so there's something still left for our children, then why am I being forced to rely on electricity or fossil fuels?"
Clark's Harbour Mayor, Leigh Stoddart, said that while he admires and empathizes with Smith's decision to go green he claimed that the regulations requiring electricity apply Canada-wide and the city could not make an exception. If the regulations are Canada-wide, it is clear they are not enforced. Lasqueti island is one of the larger of several Gulf Islands off the BC coast who have no connection to the power grid. Lasqueti has a population of 3 to 4 hundred people about 350 staying year round. Solar, wind, and fossil-fuelled generators provide power to the island residents.
Apparently, power is required in Nova Scotia because smoke detectors and a proper ventilation is required for every house. However, these could be powered by batteries or electricity generated off the grid. If this is the reason connection to the grid is required then it would seem that power companies are breaking the law when they cut off your power. Several commentators on the article noted that Smith could simply wire the house connect and then not use it. However, that seems an unreasonable expense in the first place.
In neighbouring New Brunswick province, Wendy Keats, cut ties with the grid when she moved into her home just outside of Salisbury ten years ago. Neither New Brunswick power nor local authorities have complained but that may be because the house did have power originally.Keats a dedicated environmentalist said:"I figured, 'Oh, I should practise what I preach,' so I went off the grid.'It's an investment that quickly pays for itself and then you don't have a power bill, and there's nothing any better than that.I couldn't imagine going back on the grid — you'd have to take me kicking and screaming.".NB power said that it sees an increasing number of customers generating their own electricity to offset their consumption from the company. It claims it has 47 such customers at present with an increase of about a dozen each year. Most of these customers remain connected to the grid in case they need power their systems cannot provide.
In some jurisdictions especially some US states, residents with their own solar generating systems sell excess power to power companies. In Arizona a very sunny state some new housing developments have solar panel systems built in during construction. This makes the systems cheaper. Some large power companies are fighting against these developments as they make their money selling power not buying it.

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