A generator can be a wonderful tool during an outage, but it also can be extremely dangerous if used improperly. Be aware that People’s Electric Cooperative (PEC) requires a generator transfer switch (double-throw) device when you connect a generator to your home’s electrical circuits. Otherwise, if a generator is online when electrical service is restored, it can become a fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger service crews helping restore power in your area.
Contact PEC’s Engineering department at (580) 332-3031 before installing a generator to ensure correct installation at your meter.
When using your generator, please keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring unless your home has been wired for generator use. This can cause backfeeding along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including lineworkers making repairs. Have a licensed electrician install the equipment necessary to safely connect emergency generators to your home.
- Always plug appliances directly into generators. Connecting the generator to your home’s circuits or wiring must be done by a qualified, licensed electrician who will install a transfer switch to prevent backfeeding.
- Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of cuts or tears and the plug has three prongs. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage.
- Ensure your generator is properly grounded.
- Never overload a generator. A portable generator should only be used when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances.
- Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
- Keep the generator dry. Operate it on a dry surface under an open structure. Do not install your generator in a basement or any closed area. Exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which is an odorless, invisible, and poisonous gas. Provide adequate ventilation and air cooling to prevent the generator from overheating and toxic fumes from accumulating.
- Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.
- Never fuel a generator while it is operating.
- Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation. Never cut corners when it comes to safety.
We encourage you to protect the well-being and safety of your family during outages and safeguard those who come to your aid during emergency situations. When we work together for the safety and the good of our communities, we all benefit.