The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and lasts through November 30. SECO Energy reminds members who use portable back-up or permanent whole-house generators during power outages to operate with safety in mind. Read and follow generator safety tips to protect your family, property and SECO employees from harm caused by improper generator operations.
Before purchasing a generator, research options and determine your electric needs (depending on the appliances you wish to operate) with a knowledgeable retailer. Read the generator’s operating instructions and safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electric shock or fire.
If choosing a whole-house generator, employ a licensed electrician to install the generator, the disconnect switch, the transfer switch and connect the generator to the home’s electric panel. This is not a do-it-yourself job. Research qualified electricians who are licensed and insured. Always follow local, state and national fire and electric codes and ensure that your electrician pulls the required permit(s) before installation.
Electric generators require proper ventilation and air flow. Never operate a portable generator inside a building – even an enclosed garage. During operation, generators emit fumes that contain deadly carbon monoxide gas that is odorless and colorless. Install CO detectors near sleeping areas and replace batteries annually.
To prevent electric shock, plug appliances directly into the portable generator. If you use an extension cord, choose a heavy-duty outdoor extension cord with a watt or amp rating equal to the sum of the appliance. Cords should be intact with no cuts, tears or frays.
Practice safe fueling to avoid fires. Never fuel a running generator. Store gasoline and diesel in approved containers well out of the reach of children. Extinguish all flames and cigarettes when handling fuel. A fully charged fire extinguisher should be staged near the generator at all times.
Generator engine parts are very hot during operation. Touching engine parts can result in severe burns. Warn children to stay clear of a generator in operation. If the generator is faulty, contact a qualified repair technician for service. Similar to installing a generator, repairing a generator is not a do-it-yourself project.
If you connect your portable generator into your home’s electrical panel, the National Electrical Code requires a transfer switch to ensure complete disconnection from utility-supplied power. A transfer switch eliminates the risk of backfeeding energy to utility lines. Using the transfer switch is the safe way to connect a generator directly to your home and avoid injury to SECO employees. Never remove or tamper with a generator’s safety devices.
The 2019 hurricane season is here. SECO encourages members to prepare early for the possibility of power outages after tropical storms and hurricanes. Gather emergency supplies now, well before a storm threatens. Test your generator before you experience a storm-related power outage.
SECO is StormReady and encourages members to be prepare for power outages. Report outages 24 hours a day, seven days a week with StormCenter. Members can enroll in voice, text or email outage communications, set do not disturb times and check the status of an existing outage. Visit StormCenter on your smartphone or tablet and bookmark the page in preparation for storm season.