If you are using a portable generator during storms and power outages, you should understand the risks. In order to avoid back feed situations, make sure that your wiring system is disconnected from National Grid’s system before you operate the generator. Portable electric generators provide a good source of power during electrical outages, but can be deadly to the utility crews and homeowners if incorrectly installed or operated. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions in order to avoid electric shock and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Never operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, including homes, garages and basements. Generators produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly.
- Do not connect your generator directly to your household wiring, as this can back feed along the power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs.
- Make sure the generator is properly grounded.
- Do not overload the generator. A portable generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment or appliances.
- Keep children away from portable generators at all times.
NEVER touch a downed wire. More than likely you will not be able to determine if it is a power line, a telephone line or a cable TV line; nor will you be able to determine if it is energized or not. Treat all downed wires as if they’re energized and stay clear! Don’t touch downed wires and don’t touch anything that is in contact with downed wires. Even if it is not sparking, it could still be energized.
Finally, if you see repair crews working on downed power lines, please drive carefully! Expect delays and exercise caution when driving near any of the hundreds of repair crews working to restore your power.
Remember, just because you see lights on at your neighbor’s house, doesn’t necessarily mean that power has been restored. They could either be running a generator, or they could be on an underground service that wasn’t affected by the storm.