Woman Punished by City for Living Off the Grid

Robin Speronis, a resident of Cape Coral, Florida, wants to live off the grid. She doesn’t use the city’s water—she collects rain water; she doesn’t use the city’s power—she has solar panels; and she tries to survive on non-perishable food and whatever else she can grow. She is as close to self-sufficient as a person can be in an urban community.

After a local news agency found out about Speronis’s off the grid lifestyle, they did a little story on her, effectively informing the city of Cape Coral about Speronis’s actions. And Cape Coral wasn’t happy. So they placed a notice on Speronis’s property to the effect that it was unfit for human occupation.

Just why they thought that was the case is unclear. Apparently, they couldn’t be sure the water and power situation there was actually safe, so they seated Speronis with a handful of code violations. Why it was their responsibility to make sure that Speronis’s environment was safe—since her environment affected only her—is unclear. It seems they were just annoyed that Speronis was living off the grid.

After Speronis got legal counsel, the city dropped their charges of code violations and tried a different tack. Apparently, Speronis had still been using the sewer system, but because she wasn’t using city water, she had received no bills. The city said she must connect to city water and pay back-charges of a few thousand dollars, or they would cap her sewer line.

But Speronis doesn’t want to connect to city water—she doesn’t use city water. She also said she could find another way to dispose of her waste. But Cape Coral is determined to collect the back-charges nonetheless. This woman must be punished, obviously, for her evil actions. And speaking of evil actions, Speronis has had a few other run-ins with the law. She pled no contest to larceny in 2011, and was sentenced to probation and restitution. Then she had her real estate license revoked for refusing to return the commission on a condo she failed to sell.

And then just when things were starting to turn around for her, and she had effectively begun living off the grid, this happens. You just can’t win sometimes.