Portable Generator Safety: Our lives are at stake!
The safety of Pointe Coupee Electric Membership Corporation and other line worker employees is a top priority of the cooperative, especially during dangerous times.
When storms hit our area as we expect during hurricane season, we rush to your aid as soon as weather conditions allow our line workers to travel and make repairs safely.
Our line crews take precautions before they work on downed power lines. First, they verify a circuit has been de-energized and that proper switches are opened and tagged to isolate the circuit from the system.
We place ground chains on the circuit—on both sides of workers—to make sure the line cannot be energized while work is being done. But even after these measures, our workers’ lives remain in your hands.
Pointe Coupee Electric is proud of our outstanding safety record, but sometimes, no matter how many steps we take to keep everyone safe, the very people we are there to help unknowingly put our lives—and their own—in danger.
Portable generators, widely used when power lines are down, can prove fatal to line workers and your neighbors when used improperly. Of course, no one would ever purposely cause the death of a line worker. Nevertheless, a generator connected to a home’s wiring or plugged into a regular household outlet can cause back feeding along power lines and electrocute anyone who comes in contact with them—even if the line appears to be dead.
Pointe Coupee Electric employees are not the only ones in danger when a portable generator is used improperly. Generator owners themselves may be at risk of electrocution, fire injury, property damage, or carbon monoxide poisoning if they do not follow the necessary safety rules.
Portable generators can be very helpful to consumers during outages. Pointe Coupee Electric urges you to follow these safety guidelines when using one:
- Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring unless your home has been wired for generator use. This can cause back feeding along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs. Have a licensed electrician install the equipment necessary to safely connect generators to your home.
- Always plug appliances directly into generator.
- Connecting the generator to your home’s circuits or wiring must be done by a qualified, 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 cuts or tears and the plug has three prongs. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage.
- Ensure your generator is properly grounded.
- Never overload a generator. A portable generator should only be used when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances.
- Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
- 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 to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation. Never cut corners when it comes to safety.
Pointe Coupee Electric encourages you to protect the well-being and safety of your family during outages, and safeguard those who come to your aid during emergency situations. When we work together for safety and the good of our communities, we all benefit.