Generator Safety

You can use a portable emergency generator to supply electricity to your appliances if an emergency exists during a power outage. However, if used improperly, generators can be lethal to you and the people working to restore power. Additionally, they can damage the appliances you connect.

Home emergency generators are usually powered by gasoline, which must be properly handled as well.

Connecting a generator to the main electrical supply for your house requires the services of a qualified, licensed electrician. Before connecting the generator to your household circuit, notify your local VEC Customer Service Center.

If you connect an emergency generator to the main electrical supply coming into the house, the electrical generator could feed back into Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s system and electrocute workers who are repairing the electrical lines.

Determining Wattage Requirements

You must also never exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Overloading can cause serious damage to the generator or appliances. Before operating a generator, list all of the appliances that are going to operate at the same time. Then determine the starting wattage requirements and the running wattage requirements. The starting load lasts only a few seconds but is very important when figuring your total wattage to be used; your generator must be rated to handle the total wattage.

Extension Cords

When using an appliance or tool at a considerable distance from the generator, a 3-wire extension cord with a 3-prong grounding plug and a 3-slot receptacle that accepts the tool’s plug should be used. A cord of adequate size must also be used.

Under no circumstances should an extension cord be run from one house to another.