Many residents who lose power may turn to emergency generators to ensure a continuous flow of electricity to refrigerators, freezers, lights, fans and other appliances. Duke Energy urges residents to exercise extreme caution. While generators are a convenience in keeping appliances running during storm-related outages, they can also create hazards for homeowners and electric utility workers.
When operating a generator:
- Always operate a generator in accordance with manufacturer's guidelines and instructions. Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator.
- To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, never use a generator indoors or in attached garages. Only operate the generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area away from air intakes to the home.
- To avoid electrocution, plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
- If connecting into the house wiring is necessary on a temporary basis, homes should have a transfer switch installed by a licensed electrician. A transfer switch allows your house to receive power directly from a portable generator as opposed to through the main circuit breaker normally supplied by Duke Energy. Transfer switches isolate the circuits supplied by the generator and prevent backfeeding – inadvertently energizing circuits in both systems.
- Backfeeding can most commonly occur when a generator is connected directly to the electric panel or circuit in a home. Feeding power back into the utility system during an outage will energize the transformer serving the house and could pose a serious threat to line and service and tree crews working to restore power in the area who may not know they are working with an energized line.