Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) Vice President of Operations Clyde Jolley said many folks are using emergency generators to supply electricity to their homes during these power outages.
“If used improperly, they can kill you and the people who are working to restore power,” Jolley said. “They can also damage the appliances you connect.”
Jolley added home emergency generators are usually powered by gasoline, which must be properly handled as well.
Jolley said connecting a generator to the main electrical supply for your house requires the services of a qualified, licensed electrician.
If an emergency generator is connected to the main electrical supply coming into the house incorrectly, the electrical generator could feed back into VEC’s system and electrocute workers who are repairing the electrical lines.
Jolley also urged customers to notify VEC before connecting the generator to their household circuit.
Jolley also offered a few more tips on installing and using an emergency generator:
n Determining wattage requirements — Customers should never exceed the rated capacity of the generator.
According to Jolley, overloading can cause serious damage to the generator and/or appliances.
n Before operating a generator, list all 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.
A customer’s generator should be rated to handle the total wattage.
n When using an appliance or tool at a considerable distance from the generator, a 3-wire extension cord that has a 3-prong grounding plug and a 3-slot receptacle that accepts the tool’s plug should be used. A cord of adequate size should be used.
Jolley added extension cords should never be run from one house to another.