We had a spring snow storm last week and we lost power for a day and change. The impact wasn't too bad relatively speaking. Our fridge was still down and we currently have no meat in the freezer - our 1/4 cow won't be ready until August so we didn't have to worry about food going bad. At the point of the storm we had already been living fridge-less for almost two weeks. The power outage did leave us without heat and water though.
We are on a well and septic system even though we are in the town limits and without power we have no water or heat. We have been long wanting to become free from the utility companies for times when the power goes out as well as the fact that I simply don't trust these huge companies and how they operate. I also have a huge problem with the province of Alberta allowing these companies to exploit my resources and then sell them back to me at outrageous prices. We have bills in some winter months of $400-$500!
We know that we want to get a wind turbine to generate electricity and I think we will be successful since it is quite windy here assuming I don't have a battle with the town. If we can obtain a turbine to generate electricity we will be halfway to our goal of telling our monopolized utility industry where to go. To replace natural gas I have been looking into a wood pellet burning furnace or boiler. Wood burning technology has come a long way in the last few years and it looks like a very self-sustainable way to go- at least as long as there is a supply of pellets. It sure beats being robbed by Fortis and Atco.
Here is a link to more information on wood pellets as a source of fuel. I have found some local suppliers of pellets as well as a dealer for the furnace up in the Athabasca region who apparently deals all around Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan. We have a few things on our list ahead of a new furnace like new windows, siding, and a roof conducive to harvesting rain water, but it is good to begin the research ahead of time so all bases can be covered before investing time and money.