Portable Generator Safety

Take special care with portable electric generators, which can provide a good source of power, but if improperly installed or operated, can become deadly.

Do not connect generators directly to household wiring. Power from generators can backfeed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including lineworkers making repairs.

A qualified, licensed electrician should install your generator to ensure that it meets local electrical codes.

Other tips include:

  • Make sure your generator is properly grounded.
  • Keep the generator dry.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator.
  • Make sure extension cords used with generators are rated for the load, and are free of cuts, worn insulation, and have three-pronged plugs.
  • Do not operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, which can be deadly.
  • Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCIs require no tools to install and are available at prices ranging from $12 to $30.

Standby Generators

If you use a standby generator during power outages, remember improper generator hookup can create serious problems in safety and service.

It’s very important for your home to have the proper transfer switch. This switching device is used to transfer the electric service from the power line to the generator. If the switch is not used, feedback from the generator on to our power lines could endanger the lives of line crews working to restore your power. Feedback could also damage your generator, home wiring, and appliances.

Please contact CVEC at before installing and using standby generators. We can provide helpful safety information and will also document your account that you have a generator that may be operational during an outage. You may need to work with your contractor to supply the required details needed by CVEC.

Also, look here for more information about generator installation, net metering and the CVEC Consumer Guidelines for Power Generator Installation.