Surviving Off The Grid – The Essentials

So we have no electricity and its getting dark and the kids are all over me, outraged!

Dad! There’s no electricity!

Yes, I say, I can see that.

Why!? they ask.

Uh, mumble mumble, payment mumble, I mumble.

Soon I have to confess: I paid late and we got cut off. Now there’s a re-connection fee I have to pay and a delay. I’m thinking fridge, freezer, supper tonight but they have far more urgent and greater disasters and catastrophes in mind:

“THERE’S NO WIFI!!” they scream in unison.

Now they’re ganging up on me. “In unison” and “Jess & Tom” are not usually linked phrases.

Well, I’m walking to the shops, I say, thinking charcoal, firelighter, matches, candles. Do you need anything? Their voices go up two octaves as they shout as one:



Lasted four days. It was cool. Very instructive. Gas cooker and candles. Cleared out the fridge and deep freeze. AND – they survived!

(I had paid on the due date but had ignored this little instruction “Rx is due immediately, the rest can be paid on the due date”).


Off the Grid – A Confession

Going off the (electricity and water) grid is too much of  mission and the costs don’t justify it.

And I hate it that I just said that, so I’m committing to re-looking at it.

Last time I looked at solar water heating (meant to be the no-brainer) the cost was so much higher than Eskom that I hesitated. Then they told me the system would likely only last for 5 or 6 years and so I did what I do well: procrastinated.

It also turned out to be more technical and complicated than I thought. People who have done it always say “Ag it was nuthing! I just did this and that”. Not true! Here’s a pic that demonstrates this – Proud Brian Brooks of Tokai with his system (admittedly a borehole, not just roofwater):

Own Borehole

Holy guacamole, this is NOT for me! I will start off with catching rainwater off my roof. Then I’ll tiptoe on to investigating solar water heating. After that we’ll see. And I’ll report in unvarnished fashion with no hidden costs.

Watch this space! (But don’t hold your breath).