Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 18th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2013 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
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Climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet's ecosphere, or so we're told.
What's more, the price of energy continues to climb, week after week, month after month and year after year. So who wouldn't jump at the chance to reduce their power bills and cut reliance on the corporations that deliver that power?
This is what a bunch of people are relying on to sell you schemes of a highly dubious nature and which, on closer inspection, are just another example of the old "re-sell and ebook for profit" schemes that have appeared before.
Yes, just as hoards of people jumped at the chance to make money by selling these low-value eBooks to gullible idiots that dreamed of running their cars on water, thousands are now flogging the same kind of thing in the alternative energy sector.
Here is the perfect example of a blatant scam that preys on the gullible and stupid.
The MagniWork website claims "Using our easy-to-follow guide, you will be able create a Magnetic Power Generator which creates absolutely free energy, and doesn't require any resource like wind or solar energy to function, the magniwork generator creates energy by itself and powers your home for free"
Yes, it seems these scammers are able to do what nobody has ever done before -- break the laws of physics and extract limitless free energy.
Thanks to their unique ability to exploit "zero point energy", the folks at MagniWork will charge you just $49 for the secrets to the universe that have defied highly trained, experienced and skilled physicists for so very long.
If you believe this snake oil then go to the back of the class. If you have actually paid money for this useless drivel then please cut up your credit-card now, you are just too much of a dupe to be trusted with it.
Although not quite as blatant a scam as MagniWork, Earth4Energy has all the hallmarks of a scam.
Right from the "...4..." name (just like "Water4Gas") to the bold claims made on the website, this offering rings alarm bells.
Then there are the other warning signs common to so many similar scams:
I'm sorry but although I'm sure there is some basic commonsense information in this $50 package, I strongly doubt that the contents deliver on all the promises made.
What's more, this is clearly just another Water4Gas kind of program where the vast majority of people will be buying (and recommending) the product solely so they can make money by duping others.
As a result, the internet is now littered with websites that claim to honestly review Earth4Energy but which are actually just affiliate sites seeking their 75% commission on the sale of this stuff. Likewise, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube that claim to provide independent advice on alternative energy but ultimately refer people to this marketing exercise.
Unless you have absolutely no other use for $50 -- I'd steer well clear of Earth4Energy.
Hell yes, there are a huge number of scammers out there seeking to separate folks from their hard-earned cash.
Such scams are usually pretty easy to spot and you can watch for the list of warning signs I've already itemized for the Earth4Energy product.
Whenever considering a product, an offer or a service that sounds too good to be true or which makes incredible claims -- just stop and think for a while.
If it's so good, why is it being sold through a crappy website and network of highly commissioned affiliates rather than through more conventional channels?
If it's so good, why is it apparently discounted so heavily?
Why would anyone give away "secrets" when such "secrets" could obviously be leveraged to create huge profits if they were used to create superior products at lower prices?
I'd like to hear from anyone who's spotted other energy scams on the web and I'll keep a register of them online, so everyone can see.
Is it really possible to generate your own electricity at a very low cost?
Well yes, but the amount you can generate will be small and there are numerous issues involved with actually being able to use it for practical purposes.
Most low-cost generation systems that you can build yourself will only output relatively low voltages (12V-50V) and more likely than not, this will be direct-current.
You can use that power to charge an array of batteries -- but *good* batteries are expensive.
You could use car batteries but they do not like being more than partially discharged on a regular basis so even though they might be capable of storing nearly 1,000 watts, the maximum you can safely draw from them is 500W or less.
If you buy real "deep discharge" batteries your wallet will take a huge hit.
And, even once you have a good bank of well charged batteries, putting out 12V or 50V, what can you use it for?
Most houses are wired for 110V-240V AC, and this is what most appliances are designed to run from. Virtually none of your existing appliances will run directly from a low-voltage DC source such as the one you can build yourself. You'll need an inverter to lift that low DC voltage to a higher AC one.
Good inverters are not cheap and they are limited in the amount of power they can handle.
Even if you do invest in such a device, you now have the problem that you can't just hook it up to your house-wiring without first disconnecting the feed that comes from the power company. This requires a trained professional and will cost more money -- even if your utility company agrees.
Given that there's just no way you'll be able to generate all your electricity needs from a $200 windmill or solar array, you'll need some way of switching back and forth as needed - that's more money.
What's more, your batteries and inverter will almost certainly be unable to cope with the normal electrical loads found in a regular house. Your airconditioning alone may be too much load and you can forget about using the electric stove.
In short, there are no truly effective cheap methods to free yourself from the power company or even to significantly and practically supplement the power they deliver.
The only truly successful alternative power installations are those where the owner has spent quite a bit of money (far in excess of $200) to buy good products and have them professionally integrated into their existing power supply. In most cases, to fully utilize this alternative energy, it becomes necessary to replace otherwise energy-intensive appliances with low-power or alternatively fueled options.
If you really want to reduce your power bill and you only have $200 to spend, you'd be much better advised to invest in a little more insulation for your home. That'll keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer while reducing your heating/air-conditioning bills.
Sorry folks -- no free lunches, not even on the internet.
Please spread the word to save people from wasting their cash and help put these scammers out of business. Link to this page and tell your friends about it.
Remember, this is purely a gift, you'll get nothing other than a warm fuzzy feeling in return.