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Using a Generator Safely

Portable generators are incredibly useful devices for those who need constant power regardless of the weather. However, generators can also pose a danger to line people if they are connected improperly.

White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC) has more stringent safety codes dealing with generator hook-ups than the National Electrical Code. When installing a generator, be sure to call WRVEC both before you begin and after installation to check the connection. We also recommend the use of the GenerLink device to hook up your house to the portable generator. To learn more about both GenerLink and generators, click here.

To help protect both yourself and linemen, be sure to follow these important generator safety tips:

  • Always plug appliances directly into the generator. Be sure to note the wattage capacity of your generator so that you may avoid a dangerous overload of the circuitry. Using too many appliances increases the risk of an electrical fire.
  • Make sure the generator is running at full speed before appliances are plugged in. Any appliances that are plugged in before the generator has reached full speed may be damaged.
  • Be sure to never wire a generator directly to your home’s electric service panel, or to connect it to a circuit through a receptacle.
  • If you have a home emergency generator, it is probably powered by gasoline. Never operate a gasoline powered generator indoors. Operating the generator indoors may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to store the gasoline safely.
  • If you are connecting your generator directly to a building (and therefore not plugging appliances into the generator), be sure to get the proper switches and connections from a certified electrician.
  • If your generator requires direct wiring, you will need a double-throw switch or auxiliary generator panel. The switch will allow you to connect to either the main power source or the portable unit, but it will keep both connections from being live at the same time. This will protect line people from unknown live wires and your generator and connected appliances from possible damage.

To contact WRVEC,  click here or call 1-800-879-4056.