Customer Support

Standby Generators

What you need to know about standby generators

Emergency standby generators can supply electricity to your home or business during a power outage. Operating a standby generator can be a lifesaver during a power outage, but only if it is properly installed and maintained. Understand the hazards, and familiarize yourself with these important safety precautions before you purchase or begin to use one.

There are two basic types of standby generators:

You can purchase a small, portable, gasoline-powered outdoor unit and run extension cords from the generator directly to appliances such as lamps, refrigerators, or electric space heaters. Always run such generators outside where there is adequate ventilation — never inside the house, where they could cause CO poisoning.

A licensed electrician can connect a larger backup generator to a building's main wiring panel. These generators can be used during electric outages to power essential medical devices, furnaces, air conditioners, or well pumps (for those not connected to a municipal water supply). Your electrician will see that the setup meets national, state, and local electrical codes and ensure compatibility with our power system.

Generator hazards

Improper installation and use of standby generators may violate state or local electrical codes and can severely endanger those working to restore your power. During power outages, our crews work from maps to locate disconnects. Improperly connected generators may re-energize lines that otherwise would be off, creating "back feed." Back feed occurs when electric power is introduced to the utility's power lines from generators with faulty connections. In the case of back feed, lines expected to be de-energized are in fact live, and could potentially electrocute crew members attempting to make repairs.

Guide to selecting generators and stationary engines

Emergency generators and stationary engines that are used to provide power for events, critical services, or even home backups are available in a wide range of options. Many of those options directly impact air quality, noise levels, health, and overall aesthetics of an environment. While one generator may not seem to have much impact, added together they can have noticeable, negative side effects. This guide will help you make informed decisions when selecting a generator, to help lessen your overall footprint and benefit your surrounding community.

Generator Best Practices 

Additional Resources

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Flyer

Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) FAQ

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

Energy Saving Tip

Turn off your lights when you leave the room—even if you'll only be gone for a moment. Contemporary light bulbs require very little energy to turn "on."

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Install carbon monoxide detectors and annually hire a qualified contractor to inspect your home for proper ventilation.

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