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Man Still Has to Pay Tax For Energy He Generates Himself

A year and a few months ago, CBC reported the story of a man who was informed he still has to pay absurd taxes on his own electricity, despite years of efforts to achieve a goal of self sufficiency.

In the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, a man named Kris Currie decided to construct a home that minimized the use of energy in every imaginable way. Factors were considered such as the position of his windows, to the thickness of the walls, and the choice of which appliances should be used in the home, such as a clothes dryer powered by a heat pump.

An extraordinary amount of thought was put into this home, enough to make any artesian or craftsman proud. Currie chose tones of paint that would perfectly reflect natural sunlight, so during the daytime lights wouldn’t have to be on.

He could probably achieve some kind of pure sensation of distance from the subservient, disrespected feeling that tax paying citizens are left with every day that they work jobs they don’t want to work, by not having to use so much electricity or depend on a corporation for it.

However, authority came to crush his dreams and remind him he owes a portion of everything he produces as a human being to the state, at least according to their laws.

The result of his effort is known as a “net-zero home,” that is, a residence capable of generating all of the power it needs over the period of a year, in this case from the 35 solar panels on the roof.

The “HST” is a tax that has been imposed on the homeowners of Canada, and Currie was unaware that his “net-zero” home doesn’t qualify for any exemption from this tax. What the citizens of Canada receive in exchange for this tax is unknown.

As PG&E for example is the main company that supplies residents of California with power, the equivalent of that in this region of Canada is Maritime Electric. Currie says he pays nothing to this company for his own electricity he generates, but like any customer of theirs, he is still “billed for the HST on every kilowatt hour used.”

To understand this, one should think about smart meters, and the surveillance of people’s power usage by corporations or government. Why should an authority know how much power you use or generate? Smart meters are a bad idea for people who want the freedom to produce their own electricity without being taxed for it, and possibly an even worse idea for people who notice the health consequences of having them attached to your home.

Discussing the fact that he still has to endure the disrespectful gesture of taxation on his own self-produced electricity, Currie said:

It’s nonsense really. It should be exempt. We’re using it for heat, for one. Oil’s exempt. Now that we’re producing electricity we’re getting charged for it.

It’s disrespectful to the common people to involve them in a bureaucratic, nonsensical maze of what is taxed and what isn’t as well. In a nod to this tendency of bureaucracy, heating oil happens to be exempt from this HST tax, but other energy sources like wood or electricity are not exempt.

According to CBC.ca:

Currie is part of P.E.I.’s net metering program, which allows individual homeowners to generate their own electricity, sending any excess into the grid in exchange for credits so they don’t have to pay when they draw electricity back out of the grid — for example, at night when solar power can’t be generated.

Currie’s home is generating more electricity than it uses, feeding the excess into P.E.I.’s electricity grid, where it’s sold to other Maritime Electric customers — who pay HST on what they use.

People being coerced into giving up the electricity they produce into an electricity “grid,” so this company can still take its cut and distribute what you produce, and the government can still take their cut in taxes: this is exactly what a complex, high level money making scheme looks like.

Remember, energy schemes that seek to centralize power and further dis-empower regular working class people, disguised as pro-environment moves or with some cloak like that, are going to become more prevalent in the future.

(Image credit: CBC)