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Backup generators

During a power outage you can restore your electricity with a portable or stationary manual-start generator or a stationary automatic-start unit. Install and use your generator correctly otherwise your family and our crews could be at risk.

Portable generators

The size of the portable generator that you choose for your home depends on how many electrical devices you want to run at the same time. A supplier can help you choose the right generator for your needs.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • always keep your portable generator outside;
  • 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.

Transfer switches are critical for the safe use of a generator

When you connect a portable generator, never plug the generator into a household electrical outlet. If you plug your generator directly into an outlet, the wiring in your home is no longer protected by a circuit breaker or fuse in the power panel. The wiring may be overloaded and start a fire. The safest option is to install a transfer switch:

  • A transfer switch stops your generator from pushing electricity back into power lines and protects line crews from risk of serious injury or death.
  • Install a transfer switch and an enclosed inlet that is permanently wired to the outside of your home or building and approved for use with the portable generator.
  • A meter-mounted transfer switch is not allowed to be installed on Manitoba Hydro-owned combination meter socket and circuit breaker.

The transfer switch can only be installed by a qualified electrician who would follow up with us for an inspection.

Know how to use your portable generator and follow the manufacturer’s instructions:

  • When the power goes out, wait 10 minutes before starting up the generator.
  • Make sure the transfer switch and all breakers are correctly positioned before you start up the generator.
  • Keep the generator dry and protect it from rain or snow.
  • Make sure that your hands are dry and stand in a dry place when operating the generator.
  • Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) extension cord when using electrical tools outdoors.

Stationary (standby) generators

A stationary (or standby) generator can be powered by gas, natural gas, diesel or propane. Most are powerful enough to run a central air conditioner, kitchen appliances, pumps, and other large items at the same time. A stationary generator, the transfer switch, and any electrical panels must be installed by a licensed electrician who would follow up with us for an inspection.

Know how your stationary generator works and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.