well first of all,us hand fired junkies are a barbaric bunch.
we tend to do things ourselves to save a buck, we try to be as independent as we can,if the elctric bill goes up 10$ we complain because we could use that money for beer,bullets and fish hooks!
all joking aside, this area of maine,10 yrs ago,was subject to an ice storm that left many people with out power for 3 weeks,so for me to have a stoker,i also would have had to go buy a generator,i would prefer to spend that on beer,bullets,fish hooks!
i work 12 hour shifts, an hour from my house,at times i come home very tired and dont feel like comming home and messing with the stove,but being a former wood burner i was used to messing with the stove or wood furnace every 4-6 hrs,so this every 12-15 hrs with a hand fired is actually a peice of cake! i actually kinda like fiddeling with it...plus like others have said....with a hand fed,you can use different types of coal...my supply of nut is a mile from the house....the supply of rice,the only supply of rice,is 10-12 miles away and alot more expensive!