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In Florida, USA, it is Illegal to be disconnected from the grid....
#1
Just came across an article I found quite interesting. In the state of Florida (where I, and several other members, live), it is illegal to run your home solely off your own power. The article was specifically targeting Solar installations, however I'm sure it includes other means of alternative energies because of the wording.

https://studionewsnetwork.com/police-new...-lobbying/
http://www.wftv.com/news/local/want-sola.../276475576

Quote:Robert Tarr who, according to WFTV, spent more than $60,000 for a system of 32 solar panels for his roof. But even though his house can generate enough electricity to run indefinitely without being hooked to a power company, legally, he still has to be connected and pay the Leesburg Electric Department for power he doesn’t even need.
“So you can be completely free of the grid?”  Channel 9’s Jamie Holmes asked.

“Yes,” Tarr said.

“But they make you attach to the grid,” Holmes asked.

“Yes,” Tarr said. “I have a problem with it, OK? I think if I want to be totally independent of them, I should be allowed to be,” Tarr said.

If Tarr were to stop paying his electric bill, reports WFTV, he said Leesburg would shut off his power. City officials could also revoke his certificate of occupancy for not being hooked up to the system.


So, if this family wanted to defy the power company and remove his solar from the control of the power company, the government could revoke his certificate of occupancymaking it illegal for anyone to live in the home!

Rest assured that any attempt to resist one’s removal from said home would be met with the police force and violent escalation.

That is ridiculous!! Incredulous!! Insidious!! And a whole slew of other "ous" words I can't think of right now. FPL (Florida Power And Light) has lobbied the state gov't to put into place laws that keep us from disconnecting from the grid. What a crock!

For fellow Floridians looking to go grid-less, I recommend doing what I'm gonna do. Leave the grid connected, but that main breaker is turned off in the house and install a light out at the pole to use "some" power during the month. For me it only costs $20 for connection, so about $30 with taxes and fees and such. Add another $10 per month for the light and I think they'll be happy and leave me alone.
Fortunately, they can't take the property as it is a homestead for 2 other homes.

Quote:Instead of owning their greedy intentions, companies like FPL, instead, attempt to rationalize their actions through absurd explanations.


“Operating your renewable system without the bi-directional meter can result in an inaccurate meter reading causing your bill to increase,” FPL claims, which essentially means that for proactively approaching your energy needs, it could result in a potential glitch in their system that will charge you more money on your electrical bill.

They also recommend that all homes powered by FPL, that have solar panels, be connected through the same electrical wiring, and “the [renewable] system must shut down when FPL’s grid shuts down in order to prevent dangerous back feed on FPL’s grid. This is required to protect FPL employees who may be working on the grid.”

Ironically, FPL is basically saying that their workers could potentially be electrocuted if they’re doing maintenance on the grid during an inadvertent or scheduled shutdown, while completely ignoring the fact that there would be NO risk to those workers if the home wasn’t legally required to be connected to the grid!

How does using your own power in conjunction with their power make the meter go "up" to cost you more? That doesn't make and sense what so ever. If a flow of power is coming into the house at a set rate, and a secondary source starts feeding the house, then the flow coming from the power company would slow down, not speed up.
And this brings up another issue (which was discussed over in the Slack channel) that the people who had solar panels couldn't use their power because it was directly tied into the grid. So it "had" to be shut down so the linesmen would be safe. Well, if 1) they didn't have to be required to be connected; 2) had a ATS installed; 3) Quick acting contactors (or whatever they are called for AC on mains) that would disconnect when it detects no power from mains; then the linesman would be safe to begin with. FPL sure is making things worse. Glad I don't get my power directly from them, I'm through Clay Electric and they do things a lot differently. They don't bug you unless  you don't pay the bill. And even then, they work with you helpfully.

Be careful fellow Floridians. Make sure you keep things safe and secure and keep FPL off your back by installing your proper switches and such. Run the garage off the grid and the house off the powerwall.
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#2
Wow, just Wow!  How bout I just don't connect to FPL grid at all?  Problem solved.  That is the biggest crock of Sh** I have heard of in a while.  I am surprised that this has not been taken to the Florida State Supreme court yet to be challenged.  I wonder of case law really supports this or if it's just a fart in the wind?

I think you guys should create a state ballot referendum that explicitly allows individuals to create and use their own power regardless of generation source or utility connectivity.  You can use a gas generator, but not a solar generator?  Seems a little backwards...

Glad I don't have to deal with that.

Rudy
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Rudy
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#3
You can't be disconnected from the grid for stupid fake reasons, ok. But you said you want to put up a light to use at least some power from the grid. Is it illegal as well to be connected to the grid but then not using it? Can't you just do it as you said, have the grid connected but not using it and just having a bill of exactly zero?
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#4
@Rudy: I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of flack from this, especially now that Irma came through and did so much damage. There were literally 1000's of people who could of had power to their homes, but couldn't because of the legislature. It's gonna be addressed now.

@DarkRaven: Probably could just be connected with the mains breaker turned off and the meter read 0kWh usage each month and just pay the connection fee.

For me, Clay Electric is my PC, so I probably wouldn't have an issue. But for those who are on FPL, they would need a load on it so at least there some fluctuation so as to not incite FPL to go to the county and have the certificate of occupancy pulled. I don't believe I have to worry about it in Alachua County. But if you're pulling "some" power they can't claim you aren't using the power and therefore claim it's unsafe and inhumane to be w/o power. Which is odd, cuz then they go a pull the meter and basically condemn your residence anyways. That's inhumane. Sheesh
It's all a bunch of bureaucratic bull schnittz
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#5
So I was watching a few other videos on this and came across this one:



Jump to 50 seconds and you see the actual regulations in black and white. But, if you don't want to, here's the quote:

Quote:Renewable generator systems connected to the grid without batteries are not a standby power source during an FPL outpage. The system must shut down whn FPL's grid shuts down in order to prevent dangerous back feed on FPL's grid. This is required to prtect FPL employees who may be working on the grid.

Ok, so with this regulation right there, this changes a LOT of the crap being said. If they do NOT have battery backup, they have to disconnect. In this case, they can't fall back on the batteries. When batteries are not present, there is no need to have a ATS installed as there is nothing to transfer to.  So this makes things little clearer. Those people who had battery installations could use their solar power as then an inverter would of been installed and an ATS as well.
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#6
Exactly, it's not that weird. With a grid-tie inverter you need to disable it if the grid goes down. That's standard in most countries.

As for the obligatory grid connection, in my country thats the same for sewage, not much different there. You can be connected and just not use it. Of course you still need to pay for the connection which is silly, but AFAICT that is the only silly thing here.

You are free to store and use your own energy as you please.
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#7
Yeah, I don't know why it has become such a big deal. Had it been made known that they would need to turn off their mains first to use it, it wouldn't have been such a headache issue. And if they didn't, they'd be fined for it.
But, I'm sure they did it so that no linesmen/women would be injured, so it does make sense in the grand scheme of things.
All solar installations that have no battery backup and are grid-tied should be required to have an Automatic Cuttoff Switch. If no mains is detected, no solar can possibly go back into the grid, that simple.
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#8
So, I'm all about safety - it is just basic common sense to not feed back electricity to the grid unless using proper controls, hardware, and so on. Of course, we don't want to electrocute anyone. Technically speaking, these are very simple challenges to manage and keep everyone alive.

Thank god for us DYIers!!!! Lets keep being safe and smart!!

Kori brings up many issues regarding FPL and the local utilities. I have a few facts and opinions - here is some info to shed more light on these problems we face locally.

Down here in West Palm Beach, the local (city and state) politicians and lobbyists are very effective at swaying the public's opinion for their own personal gain - Unfortunately, they do so without dealing with the real issues at hand - solar power is one issue, redirecting runoff water from lake O directly into the ocean and killing our reefs are another, damming up the everglades to grow sugar is yet another. Many other examples come to mind. I won't rant about politics. I'm won't call them crooks (my own words), but I personally don't trust any of them. The laws and regulations are all very confusing for the general public. The general feel for anyone down here is that the Florida (the Sunshine State) is an "oxymoron"... and the Utilities are trying very hard to make it difficult to for us to take advantage of the natural resources readily available.

One thing to note.... grid power from FP&L is fairly INEXPENSIVE, compared to other areas around the US.
The average commercial electricity rate in West Palm Beach is 8.72¢/kWh; The average residential electricity rate in West Palm Beach is 10.4¢/kWh.
After calculating my own electricity rates for the last calendar year, I personally pay 9.1¢/kWh.

As some of you know, I have a homestead where I'm harvesting solar, water, building my powerwall, etc.. but I also own a small condo in a golf course community. For giggles, I signed up for Solar City online (just to learn more at my condo) and discovered that they do not service us down here in south Florida as of now - but my name magically got on some list and within 24 hours, I got calls from 5 local solar installers. So, I took the calls and spent a little while picking their brains for information.

NONE of them were comfortable installing any battery backup systems, whether Lead Acid, Tesla, or any other. In fact, they would not even entertain the idea. They were all "trained" to install panels on roofs and hook them to the grid using appropriate ATX switches. Interesting, right? I just don't know what to say.

Anyway, last year for our general election, there was this lovely anti-solar power bill proposed - I remember the TV commercials and the furor surrounding the issue. The way the bill was worded was funny... The general population down here though it sounded good on the surface (solar bill, green, energy, etc), but after having many attorneys look at it, it came out to the public that only the monopolies would benefit and this was a bad idea for the homeowners (and us DIYers).

What was Amendment 1 of the Florida Election Ballot in November 8th 2016?
It it passed, it would take away the ability for future solar power panel homeowners to get paid for their excess energy they don't use collected by the sun that is going back into the grid powering other homes that they don't own. The wording of the Amendment uses the word "subsidized". Homeowners count on this revenue to eventually pay for their solar panels in full but it takes a decade or two to recover what they lost by not using the traditional power companies that use coal, natural gas, nuclear, etc. This will dramatically decrease the demand for solar panels. The power companies like Florida Power & Light make money when they provide energy to homeowners and if they switch to solar they lose that business and it drives down demand for the natural resource which means less revenue & taxes collected by the state of FL. In my opinion the wording is manipulative! I hate lawyers.

Note, even though it is not illegal to feed back and make money from your excess energy, local ordinances still make it difficult to do so. In fact, a few weeks ago I called FP&L to query whether I could feed back, they said sure, but there is nothing in place to allow me to get paid for the energy. Go figure. I'm sure that will change. I think this is a side effect of the bill which was proposed last September.

Here are more details of the bill as it was proposed.... and did NOT pass.

Constitutional Amendment 1 Article X Section 29 The ballot summary states: “This amendment establishes a right under Florida’s constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use. State and local governments shall retain their abilities to protect consumer rights and public health, safety and welfare, and to ensure that consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do. The amendment is not expected to result in an increase or decrease in any revenues or costs to state and local governments.

On the surface, it is confusing for the general public... but after reading the whole bill, it became clear to the public that FP&L wanted to double dip. They would get paid for the electricity the solar provides to its non solar customers, and if this bill passed, they don't have to pay the solar people for said electricity. They are basically stealing the solar if this passes. It's all about money. Nothing more, nothing less.

FYI, this bill was not passed or brought into law by a small majority.
Yet, the local Utilities are acting as if it had.... very curious.
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#9
Have You seen "Before the Flood" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFmVRsQho4Y)?

Somewhere in this film the problem with the Florida Power legislation is mentioned, together with a lot of other interesting info about the legislators in US not liking solar power.

ChrisD
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#10
I read something about that recently just for kicks since I had recently met someone from florida, and the only thing that was rolling in the back of my mind was this thought "alright, so you make me stay connected to the grip, I can't control the disconnect to the main that I'm required to install, only the power company can control it, but if I'm having electrical work done to my house, there is nothing in the letter of the law that says I can't have two disconnects installed into my home.. Install the secondary disconnect behind the disconnect from the power company. You flip off the breaker when you are not needing it, they make an issue flip it back on for a month and then turn it back off.. A loophole has been created that is completely legal.
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