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Anyone live without electricity??? - Page 4

post #61 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlemango View Post
Sharon Astyk has a series on how to survive after your power goes out. It is MUST READ information. She writes, "Right now, in the very early stages of a Depression, most people are able to work out a deal with the power company, to put it on a credit card. That will not last forever - the credit will dry up and the ability to get funds will too. Please, start thinking now about how you will deal with extended utility outages - this is one of those things where your level of suffering is directly related to how much in advance you plan for."

Multiple posts about what to do when the lights go out:

http://sharonastyk.com/2008/06/24/li...dinary-people/
gentlemango, thanks so much for posting this link (the page above has a list of links at the bottom that are also must-reads). I hadn't read it before and now that I'm looking at it, I agree that it is absolutely essential for us all to be thinking about.

Many of us here on this board are just a paycheck or three away from not being able to pay our utility bills. That means, if our income ends (job loss/es or other reason), and we can't find a new source of income right away, many of us would stop being able to pay our bills immediately, and those "lucky" ones with savings mostly could only make it a few months before they ran out of money for bills.

I don't think we can afford NOT to plan for the possibility that our income source might end. The economic path our country is on appears to be an increasingly challenging one. More people are losing their jobs or having to tighten their belts. Companies are downsizing and new jobs are harder to get, even for really smart/qualified people. I would personally rather have thought these things through before crisis hits my family, than wait until we are in a crisis situation and have to figure it out then.

baileyandmikey, I hope you don't mind that the conversation here has evolved into more than just tips for your situation. What I most want you to hear is that there is no shame in finding a nonorthodox solution for your family when times are tight. Of course you would not be considering this unless it felt like a last resort. I am convinced that the people who might be saying or thinking, "OMG, I would do anything and everything before shutting off my electricity" really would look at the situation differently if they were in it themselves. You are managing your family's resources, and it's not fun and it's not easy and it's not even comfortable, but you'll get through this.
post #62 of 88
BaileyandMikey, even if you didn't get any info that was helpful, I agree that this thread itself is helpful in general.

I agree with AmyAmanda that it is important for everyone to learn to live without electricity... even for short periods of time. Most people (not here, in general) have had their heads in the sand about the economy and it is kind of smacking them between the eyes now, but what is important to realize is that losing power is not just a matter of economics. It can happen for a million different reasons. And last weeks, if not months. Finding alternative ways to live more simply can be FUN, even! We have one night a month that everything requiring electricity is shut off and have a back to basics night. We talk, play cards by candlelight, read, snuggle around the wood burning stove. I cook on the wood burning stove and bake potatoes inside for dinner. It's neat... and it prepares you for those instances when you HAVE to do so.

BaileyandMikey... if you have a wood burning insert, you *can* stay warm and heat water and make your meals. Mine sticks out, so I actually have a cast iron flat top I can cook on TOP of, but you can bake in these stoves, too. Make sure your flue is clean, clean, clean, and make sure your wood is seasoned and dry (15% moisture content is good). We have our gas heat on only as a backup to kick on in the middle of the night if the stove burns too low. If we didn't sleep so far from the stove (upstairs, opposite end), we could easily go all winter without ever turning on our heat. In fact, we could, with much determination and to my dh's great ire, go without electricity. We have city water, though, so it would not effect a well pump. Anyway, the point is... it can be done, especially in your situation.

Good luck!
post #63 of 88
People are coming up with good ideas, and it is concerning to have 2 small children in a situation such as this. I have lived without electricity before for about a week (and it was fall, not winter, and this was Pre-kids). Let me tell you something, it is not fun.

OP, could you shed a little light on why you seem to be upset about people giving you suggestions? I'm genuinely curious if I'm missing something. You seem to want support only that going without electricity is fine, and I'm a little confused by it.
post #64 of 88
I'm in Ohio, and would never consider doing this. Freezing in the winter, extremely hot summers ... it would be an absolutely horrible way to live (and especially for the children ).

We had an ice storm a few years back, and I was without electricity for one week. It was hell. We survived, of course, we know *how* to live without electricity, it is just not something I would force upon my children if I did not absolutely have to. Especially in this area.
post #65 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
People are coming up with good ideas, and it is concerning to have 2 small children in a situation such as this. I have lived without electricity before for about a week (and it was fall, not winter, and this was Pre-kids). Let me tell you something, it is not fun.

OP, could you shed a little light on why you seem to be upset about people giving you suggestions? I'm genuinely curious if I'm missing something. You seem to want support only that going without electricity is fine, and I'm a little confused by it.
I dont think the OP is watching this thread anymore. . .
I am interested to know though why she doesnt cancel her Internet and tv if they have it first to see if they can manage with that because once the electricity is off you cant use either one of those anyways??
post #66 of 88
I haven't read the whole thread. The kids have asthma, so rght there you should be able to have their Doctor intervene for you. Further, sadly, letting kids with asthma sleep in a room that is heated with wood is probably one of the greatest astham triggers going. One of my children has allergies, which is why we opted out of a pellet stove, which contributes much less to poor air quality than a fireplace being used as a heating source.

Call your Doctor. Call the power company. Call your child's insurance carrier. There is no way they will be allowed to shut off your heat. What state are you in? In MA this would be iilegal.
post #67 of 88
Not saying you've not exhausted your phone calling, but this is a list of Ohio angencies (Beyond Akron, too) and the assitance they offer. I think your children's health issues would be the angle that will get you the most action. Maybe one of these numbers can connect you to something in your area, or an all- state program. Or maybe just plug in your area and see what hits you get. But I would concentrate on the asthma and avoiding attack triggers. Do call the childrens' insurance carrier as well. They might be able to help you with a medical waiver. At any rate, it looks like keeping your power from getting shut off in the first place is easier than getting it turned back on. Good luck!!

https://www.akronchildrens.org/cms/s...d1/index.html/

If the kids didn't have health issues already, I'd be more inclinded to play the game of how to keep warm without electricity.
post #68 of 88
Quote:
Mountaingirl79, I don't think you are giving the OP enough credit. Telling her her food will spoil is not helpful. She already mentioned a plan involving coolers and cold winter weather.
but that is relying on cold winter weather, what happens if there is an unseasonably warm winter & it isn't cold enough to put food outside. Even using coolers it may not be cold enough to keep the food safe without adding ice, but then she'd need to buy ice as she wouldn't have anything cold enough to make ice in the house.

Quote:
if you have a wood burning insert, you *can* stay warm and heat water and make your meals. Mine sticks out, so I actually have a cast iron flat top I can cook on TOP of, but you can bake in these stoves, too. Make sure your flue is clean, clean, clean, and make sure your wood is seasoned and dry (15% moisture content is good). We have our gas heat on only as a backup to kick on in the middle of the night if the stove burns too low. If we didn't sleep so far from the stove
OP doesn't have a wood stove, she has a fireplace. There's a big difference in what you can do with a fireplace than with a wood burning stove.
post #69 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by baileyandmikey View Post
Yes, we have an insert... we have access to alot of wood due to the hurricane winds that struck, and we have people who saved us wood.... we just would need to get it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
OP doesn't have a wood stove, she has a fireplace. There's a big difference in what you can do with a fireplace than with a wood burning stove.
Actually she says it's a wood burning insert, not a fireplace. Since we heat with wood with an insert, I know well that you certainly can heat a home with wood... obviously I also realize (and have posted here many times) that 70% of the heat goes up a chimney in a fireplace (and that they are not for heat, but atmosphere). As a matter of fact, wood burning stoves heat so well that I have the window cracked open here at my computer. While I was doing laundry upstairs, I didn't damper the stove enough and it got too hot in here.

Now, I had forgotten that she said her kids have asthma... and I don't know what complications wood heating may cause with lung issues.
post #70 of 88
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the advice.

We have a wood burning stove, with an insert, sorry I just say fireplace... didn't mean to sound like an idiot there.

I have really enjoyed all of the positive advice, and lots of good helpful information, so for those of you who have shared- Thank you!

We have cut out all our bills that we can. We have the internet because it was paid for through the school... this was included in dh's tuition. We paid for his classes with financial aid, which still hasn't paid out (sorry for those of you who have no clue about financial aid)--- but that means we have a very large bill with the school, until his loans disperse to them. Having the internet disconnected wouldn't get us any money per see... just a credit on his school bill. (on another note, the class dh is taking for seminary is paid for by the church right now. )

A huge issue for me personally is this- whether you can understand or not- I lost my job, and recently, I have not been able to pay on my school loans, they were put on defferment, which I am absolutely greatful for, but if I am to find a job, no matter what the pay, I would have to start paying those back right away... at least that is what I was told, and I am pretty sure that is what the paper reads. So, I keep thinking, even if I get a very crappy job, I would have to send most of it , if not all of it back to the loan company, plus I would have to pay for child care... and then we would loss our supplemental health insurance coverage thru the state, and then I would have to come up with over a $1000 that would be due to my OBGYN for this baby, as they require it by the end of Dec. Anyways, I know no one may understand.... I will keep my heat on no matter what, but there are many reasons why I can't get a job right now, or more so, why it doesn't make sense for me to do so right now. Plus, if I went out looking for a job and started next week, I still wouldn’t get paid in time.

Our children live with the wood burning daily, I burn all day and mostly at night when we can keep it going, they have yet to have any reaction (both of the kids are doing really well right now, besides ds having pink eye- which is not related to this). Our chimney is clean, everything is clean, dh does it yearly in September before it gets cold.

I want you all to realize that I am doing everything in my power to keep the electric on. I would never allow my situation to get to a point where my children are in any type of danger... I am a good mother. And would never allow the situation to get to the point where the kids were not fed, not warm, and not clean and in clean clothes.

I have been to every consignment shop selling clothes and toys, went to half price books and sold books, dvds, videos, and cds (not that we had many of any of those except the books.) But I have done that. I have been selling on craigslist as well.

Overall, I will do everything to keep the power on. I went to get help yesterday, tried to apply for Heap, but we don't qualify because I worked most of the year, and that pushed us over the limit of eligibility. I have been to churches for help, everyone around here seems to be out of funds, or they start again in Jan. or Feb (the Salvation Army).

Anyways, I called the power company, they can give me an extension, but I would need it to be longer than they allow, so I am calling again today to speak with a supervisor to see what else they can do.

Again.... thanks for all the advice, and please do not think I am being mean or nasty, I just came asking for advice. And I really do appreciate all of your advice! Thank you for taking the time to post it, and the links.... and everything, kind words mean alot.

And I will do everything to keep the power on........ I just was looking for advice, on whether or not we could live without it. And it seems to be that the vast majority of you believe we can’t do it, so thanks for your input!
post #71 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by camprunner View Post
The pipes will freeze when the house temperature is below 33. And that is the particular part of the house where the pipes are. Just because the family room is above 33 doesn't mean the bathrooms are.
Exactly! The pipes will freeze.
post #72 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by baileyandmikey View Post
A huge issue for me personally is this- whether you can understand or not- I lost my job, and recently, I have not been able to pay on my school loans, they were put on defferment, which I am absolutely greatful for, but if I am to find a job, no matter what the pay, I would have to start paying those back right away... at least that is what I was told, and I am pretty sure that is what the paper reads.


If those are federal loans that is not true at all. I have $109,000 in student loans that have been deferred since last year. Initially it was because I lost my job, and was collecting unemployment so that was an unemployment deferrement. However even now that I am working I still make less than I used to so they are deferred again since there is no way at present I can pay them.

You need to look into that because at this point with several kids and a crappy job I suspect you can continue to defer the payments for a while longer. Good luck!

Shay
post #73 of 88
I am sending you all the positive thoughts and vibes I can come up with! You are in a tough situation.

My husband lost his job Feb 1st. It took him 4 months and a move of over 1200 miles to get a new job. Oh, I was 28 weeks pregnant when he lost his job. I was a mess.

post #74 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by baileyandmikey View Post

Anyways, I know no one may understand.... I will keep my heat on no matter what,
Are you planning on the furnace working because it is oil? I think that all furnaces also need electricity to run, so if your power DOES get shut off for a little while you could very well be without a furnace.
Maybe I am misunderstanding something though?

that is GREAT that the electric company can extend you a while longer. Every little bit helps. IT will all add up, and I really hope that you will not have to be without power. But I also think you will be okay if you have to do without it for a while. Maybe you could practice a day with no power, like Velochic does? That could really help you get an idea of what you will be up against.
:
post #75 of 88
Quote:
Actually she says it's a wood burning insert, not a fireplace. Since we heat with wood with an insert, I know well that you certainly can heat a home with wood... obviously I also realize (and have posted here many times) that 70% of the heat goes up a chimney in a fireplace (and that they are not for heat, but atmosphere).
I was going off of what she said about having a fireplace which she has clarified is actually a wood stove. I know you can heat a house with wood, but if it was just a traditional fireplace it wouldn't have & that's what most of us thought of when she said fireplace.

Quote:
Are you planning on the furnace working because it is oil? I think that all furnaces also need electricity to run, so if your power DOES get shut off for a little while you could very well be without a furnace.
Maybe I am misunderstanding something though?
She said she's going to do whatever she can to keep the electric on, not just the heat.
post #76 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by baileyandmikey View Post


A huge issue for me personally is this- whether you can understand or not- I lost my job, and recently, I have not been able to pay on my school loans, they were put on d, which I am absolutely greatful for, but if I am to find a job, no matter what the pay, I would have to start paying those back right away... at least that is what I was told, and I am pretty sure that is what the paper reads.

Our children live with the wood burning daily, I burn all day and mostly at night when we can keep it going, they have yet to have any reaction (both of the kids are doing really well right now, besides ds having pink eye- which is not related to this). Our chimney is clean, everything is clean, dh does it yearly in September before it gets cold.

!
It looks like you are doing everything you can. Good for you.

Your student loans coming due should not be an issue, especially given your sitaution. Deferment is common, for all manner of issues, and this is a bigger issue than most people present! So I would call them and let them know what's going on. I've known people with lesser financial problems who have been deferred again and again. And again.

If your children have asthma, the wood burning is most likely contributing to their issues. I have no doubt you are a great mother, but wood burning dries and pollutes the indoor air, and no matter how clean the chimney. Wood burning is a huge trigger when it comes to asthma. Just check with your Dr. I say this as mother with a child with allergies. Just please check.

I am sorry you are going through such a difficult time!
post #77 of 88
Just wanted to add something, maybe someone already did and I missed it.

Don't just call the electric company, you need to put it in writing and send it certified mail. Explain your situation (I wouldn't emphasis the fireplace at all), put in the health problems, ages of your children. I wouldn't overexplain, but just briefly state the facts, request an extension, and ask for a reply in writing.

I'm saying this because years ago, I had similar problems, and I talked to them, they agreed, and still shut it off, then when I called, everyone acted like they didn't know what I was talking about.

Regardless of the fireplace, they cannot turn off the heat in the winter with children, so you might want to email someone from the state, I can't remember off hand what department that would be, but I would put something in writing to them, heck, I'd even send an email to my state senator or house of representative and ask for their help, you have nothing to lose.

Just document all calls, who you spoke with, time, etc. I know it's stressful, so sorry to hear about everything going on! But you have to sometimes fight for stuff like this, and be persistant, even if that means calling everyone every day and sending out letters every couple days!

Good luck,, keep us updated!!!
post #78 of 88
The only thing I want to add is that when you talk to anyone regarding your situation, make sure you ask to speak with a supervisor or someone who has the authority to make the decision you are requesting. One thing my clinical law professor always said was, "Go to the top early and often". Time is of the essence here and you don't want to waste it with people who do not have the authority to tell you "yes".

Ok, 2 things. The other is that I want to second that you can be working and continue to have your federal loans deferred. I have a friend who did this very thing. I think I did it once upon a time, too. It's called a hardship deferral, I believe.
post #79 of 88
I read the first half of this thread, please forgive me for not reading the whole honkin' thing, but it's looong.

Anyway, if you must go without power, drain your pipes! Your fireplace will *not* heat your house. On the contrary, it will create a draft up your chimney that will draw heat *out* of your house. Fireplaces suck rocks for heating. You'll feel toasty right in front of it, but more than about 4 feet away, you'll be freezing. You're better off closing the flue and buying a propane space heater.

Really, as some of the PPs have said, your house and situation is very poorly made for living without electricity. You could do it... but you'd really need more than a few days to prepare. Especially in winter, and especially with health concerns in the family. Your house is not designed for no-electricity management the way older houses were. You can't grill everything, and grills are notoriously finicky. Grilling in the cold is very difficult, because cold winds just whip away the heat - it took us like half an hour just to grill burgers once in the winter. That was with the lid closed on the grill, too. And they turned out rare.

Basically, if you find yourself down to the line and the power gets shut down, I hope the advice here is helpful to you. But I encourage you not to give up. Between laws that prevent shutting down power for families with children, and all sorts of obscure resources, I hope you find something to help you.
post #80 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by tboroson View Post
I read the first half of this thread, please forgive me for not reading the whole honkin' thing, but it's looong.

Anyway, if you must go without power, drain your pipes! Your fireplace will *not* heat your house. On the contrary, it will create a draft up your chimney that will draw heat *out* of your house. Fireplaces suck rocks for heating. You'll feel toasty right in front of it, but more than about 4 feet away, you'll be freezing. You're better off closing the flue and buying a propane space heater.
She posted again and said it was actually a wood stove.
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