During a power outage, electricity can be restored within minutes with a manual-start (portable) generator, or in seconds with an automatic-start (standby or stationary) unit. But a generator that isn’t installed or used correctly can put your family and our crews at risk – its voltage can cause serious injuries or death.
Have a licensed electrician install a surge protector at the essential loads panel to help prevent damage to sensitive equipment (e.g. TV, computer).
The size of a portable generator depends on how many electrical devices you want to run at the same time. Contact a supplier for advice about your needs.
Never plug a generator into a regular household electrical outlet.
- You can connect your generator to each appliance with extension cords, or install a transfer switch and connect the generator to an outlet that is permanently wired to the outside of your home or building.
- A transfer switch stops your generator from pushing electricity back into power lines, and protects our crews working on the lines from risk of serious injury or death.
- Also, if you plug your generator directly into a regular wall outlet, the wiring in your home is no longer protected by a circuit breaker or fuse in the power panel. The wiring may become overloaded, overheat, and start a fire in your house.
- The transfer switch should be installed by a licensed electrician who must obtain an electrical permit before work starts, meet all local codes, and have the installation inspected by a Manitoba Hydro electrical inspector.
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Never operate the generator in a house, garage, or other enclosed building.
- Keep the generator at least 3 metres from windows, doors, and fresh air intake areas.
Know how to use your portable generator and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When the power goes out, wait up to 10 minutes before starting up the generator.
- If using a transfer switch, ensure the transfer switch and essential loads panel breakers are correctly positioned before you start up the generator.
- Wait up to 20 minutes after power is restored before shutting down the generator.
- Keep the generator dry, and protect it from rain or snow.
- Operate the generator in a well-ventilated area.
- Ensure your hands are dry and you are standing in a dry place when operating the generator.
- Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) extension cord when using electrical tools outdoors.
A standby (or stationary) generator is powered by natural gas or propane. Most are powerful enough to run a central air conditioner, kitchen appliances, and other large items at the same time.
A standby generator, the transfer switch, and the essential loads panel must be installed by a licensed electrician.
Know how your standby generator works and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.