Prepaid v. Credit Energy | Canada Free Press

I wonder what the poor folks are having tonight? Episode #5: Understanding the advantages of prepaid energy versus energy on credit


Prepaid v. Credit EnergyPeace of mind is very important and often hard to secure. One of the very best ways to have peace of mind in uncertain times is to understand the advantages of prepaid energy versus energy on credit.

Simply put, any energy sources that can be purchased in advance can be stored at least for the short term. Should a storm devastate your area, block roads, or bring down power lines, prepaid energy can be a lifesaver. The more prepaid energy one has, the longer we can hold out while recovery efforts are underway.

Power outages are always learning opportunities

A couple of months ago we lost power for about 18 hours. Power outages are always learning opportunities, and should be viewed as such. It began in the morning, in fact in the middle of fixing breakfast. I was making a potato, egg, and cheese scramble when the lights went out. I continued making breakfast until it was ready because I was cooking on a propane range. When it was done I turned the range off and had my breakfast. When I bought the range three years ago, I made sure it could be lighted with a match if the power went out. I turned the range off after breakfast knowing that when I was ready to use it again, I could light it with a match. The propane bottle is outside, and there’s always a backup bottle. I have them filled at my local propane supplier before I need them. Propane is prepaid energy. There’s some peace of mind right there.

The furnace is electric, so when the power quit, there was no chance of using it until the power came back on. Electricity from the grid is credit energy. I use it, then the power company bills me for it. I can’t store it here. If the power suddenly goes off, there is no more until it’s restored. I can’t pay for it in advance. I can’t ration what’s left because none is left. For some reason, the power never goes off when I expect it.

But that winter morning I had not a care about keeping the house warm. I had built a fire in the stove about 5 AM. There were three sizes of firewood close at hand on the porch, enough for a week or more, and plenty more dry firewood in the woodshed. Firewood must dry out of the weather to cure before it’s used. This firewood went into the shed more than nine months ago for this year’s heat. The firewood going into the woodshed now is for the 2022-2023 heating season. Firewood is prepaid energy. There’s more peace of mind.

Prepaid Energy: Firewood, Propane, Coal, Oil, Kerosene, Wood pellets, Batteries, Matches, Food, Gasoline/diesel

During the day I sat by a window when I wanted to read. As the afternoon waned, however, there were other prepaid energy options. I have an Itty Bitty Reading Light that clips on the book’s cover allowing me to read in an otherwise dark room. It has a battery which lasts a long time because the light is a tiny LED. Batteries are prepaid energy. More peace of mind.

I used the laptop to write and take notes on my reading. Because the router runs on power I had no internet, but it didn’t prevent me from working on things that did not require a connection. The laptop has a great built-in battery that will last a day or more.

Because my phone has a great battery, I used the phone for internet tasks during the day. There is a backup way to charge the phone and the laptop by using the auxiliary power cords in the car. The car starts with a battery and uses the fuel in the tank. Batteries and car fuel are prepaid energy.

Some of the more common forms of prepaid energy are firewood, propane, coal, oil, kerosene, wood pellets, batteries, matches, food, gasoline/diesel. There are many more. The equipment or appliances to use these can be scouted and secured ahead of time.

I learned quite a lot that day of the power outage. I need to improve my supplies of prepaid energy. I should find a charger for the phone and the laptop that carries several days’ charge. Better yet would be a charger that has solar cells to collect power from the sun.



Think long term: Let the planning and bargain hunting begin!

I need to have more batteries on hand. During the daytime there wasn’t much impact. But when evening came, there was a lack of general light to keep from tripping over things in the dark. I need more hat lights.

I need to replace the old D battery hanging light with an LED model that draws less power. I should ditch anything that uses D batteries because I seldom have any fresh ones.

I should learn to connect the internet cable directly to a laptop so I can bypass the router during a power outage.

There are other prepaid resources besides energy, of course. Feed for livestock and food for people and pets are good examples of prepaid resources. Tools and seeds should be considered a prepaid resource because they can help us prepare other needed resources such as firewood, walking sticks, and spears. Will you need a roof soon? It’s possible to buy roofing materials ahead of time, maybe two or three squares per month so as to have them on hand when needed. Sewing necessities, writing supplies, water, coffee, all are prepaid items we should store in preparation for a storm. It’s never too late to start. If you have only a few days worth of supplies, think about laying in two weeks’ worth. Then think about 30 days, then 45 days. Start small and add to your stash, then think long term.

As it says on those grocery store boxes, ROTATE YOUR STOCK. Put together a system for using the oldest supplies first, but replacing them right away with new items. In these days of inflation, expect them to cost more. Stores still put stuff on sale so it’s time to sharpen our powers of observation and comparison. Let the planning and bargain hunting begin!





Dr. Bruce Smith — Bio and Archives

Dr. Bruce Smith (Inkwell, Hearth and Plow) is a retired professor of history and a lifelong observer of politics and world events. He holds degrees from Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame. In addition to writing, he works as a caretaker and handyman. His non-fiction book The War Comes to Plum Street, about daily life in the 1930s and during World War II,  may be ordered from Indiana University Press.

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