Did I just feel the slap of a glove?? Did someone throw down a gauntlet??
Us stoker types have one very nice feature: more independance. WHEN I was handfeeding my big boiler, I would arrange my days, errands, chores etc around feeding the fire.
If I goofed up, and didn't get to the fire in time, I had an hour-long ordeal to restart the fire. My firebox holds around 120-160# of coal, so getting it started, burning safely, and getting the door closed again for the night is not a small task.
Now with my 'girlie stoker' I just load in two or three buckets of rice/buckwheat coal, and empty the ash pan, If I don't get to the job for 24 hours, the worst I have is a very full ashpan. The hopper holds several days of coal. I may even automate the ashpan job with an ash-removal auger and big ash bin. I'd like 36 hour independance.
A Hitzer hopper feed model is almost a stoker, it is a gravity stoker. and these can be left alone for 24 hours and be fine. No electricty needed, although I think the stove would get very hot without the circulation fans.
For my boiler, I have to have electricity to pump the hot water to the house and shop anyway, so being off the electricy grid is not a consideration, that is what standby generators are for.
All in fun, some of us HAVE to have a stoker to be efficient