Generator Safety

Image of someone plugging an extension cord into a generator

Portable generators can be very helpful to consumers during outages, but we urge CEC members to follow these safety guidelines when using portable generators:

  • Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. This can cause back feeding along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including lineman making repairs.
  • Never plug a generator into a regular household outlet. This can also cause back feeding and pose an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
  • Always plug appliances directly into generators. Connecting the generator to your home’s circuits or wiring must be done by a licensed electrician who will install a transfer switch to prevent back feeding.
  • Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of tears and the plug has all three prongs.
  • Ensure your generator is properly grounded.
  • Never overload a generator. A portable generator should be used only when necessary and only to power essential equipment or appliances.
  • Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down the generator.
  • Keep the generator dry. Operate it on a dry surface under an open structure.
  • Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Never fuel a generator while it is operating.
  • Read and adhere the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.

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