During extended power outages such as those caused by ice storms or tornadoes, many Pickwick Electric Cooperative members have considered installing standby generators as a backup source of electricity. Although a generator does offer a steady supply of electricity, safety precautions should be taken before energizing one. The generator should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s and PEC’s recommendations. By taking these precautions, the member not only ensures his own safety, but that of PEC employees as well.
If you are connecting the generator to your house wiring system, the connection must be made through a double-throw switch. Once the switch is installed, an inspection by the state electrical inspector is required. This switch will disconnect your electric system from PEC lines and switch it to the generator. The switch is required by the National Electric Code, which applies to all residential, commercial, and farm wiring.
Portable generators must not be plugged into the house wiring system. If it’s installed in this manner, the generator will back feed through the service panel and energize the incoming service wires. This jeopardizes the safety of utility line crews who may be working on the lines.
The safest way to use a portable standby generator is to plug your appliances directly into it. To avoid serious injury, keep family members and pets away from the generator.
We at PEC encourage our members to follow these safety precautions when installing standby generators. It could prevent a severe accident or possible damage to your property or equipment. Whatever the reason for buying an emergency generator, please remember, the vital importance of installing a transfer switch.