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Generator Safety

At Cherokee Electric Cooperative, our goal is to provide our members with reliable electric service at all times. But despite our efforts, sometimes power outages do happen.

In Alabama, we can lose electrical power due to a number of natural causes such as severe weather and ice storms. In preparing for power outages, some individuals choose to install backup electric generators.

Before installing a backup generator, here are some suggested guidelines to follow:

Determine the kind of equipment you need to operate when the power goes out. This will tell you whether you will need a portable generator or a permanent backup system. This will also help you determine the size of generator you need (by wattage).

When using a portable generator, certain appliances are plugged directly into outlets on the generator itself. A portable generator should never be connected to a building’s wiring system.

For proper and safe use you should:

-Make sure you operate the generator in a well-ventilated place.
-Keep the total electric load within the manufacturer’s limits.
-Use an all-weather indoor/outdoor three-prong (grounded) extension cord. This should also be rated for the load you plan to use.
-The generator should never be plugged into an indoor or outdoor electrical outlet.
-Don’t overload your generator. Remember, more power is needed to start appliances, particularly those with a motor inside, than is needed to keep them running. To be sure your generator can handle the load, check the owner’s manual.

A generator that is permanently installed will be connected to your electric system and should be installed in accordance with the National Electric Code.

Any permanent generator system should be installed in such a way that it cannot be operated while you are connected to the cooperative’s electric system. This can be done through the use of a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch.

To ensure your personal safety and proper transfer switch application, Cherokee Electric Cooperative recommends that you use a bonded and licensed electrician for the generator’s installation.

IMPORTANT: If your permanent generator is installed improperly, it could send electricity back onto our distribution. This could result in the electrocution of a lineman working to restore power. An improperly installed permanent generator can kill!

If you have questions, please discuss your generator plan with an electrician.