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Using Portable Generators

Generators bring power where you need it.
Portable, gasoline-driven generators can be used to bring electricity to construction sites, recreational areas, and other remote locations.

Small appliances, lights, and pumps can be plugged directly into outlets on portable generators.

Transfer switches are essential for backup generators.
In the event of an outage, the only safe way to run electricity through your home wiring with a generator is to use a manual or automatic transfer switch. This switch will isolate your home wiring from power lines so the electricity runs through your home but does not get sent back out onto the lines.

If you do not use a transfer switch, the generator will send electricity back onto power lines. This could suddenly result in a very dangerous situation: a downed line in an area of an outage could become "live" with electricity from the generator, or utility workers who expect certain power lines to be dead due to outage might suddenly find them energized.

Use extension cords safely.
Use only UL-listed, three-prong extension cords with generators. Plug the appliance into the extension cord first, and then plug the extension cord into the generator outlet.

If you use a generator for backup power, make sure it has a transfer switch to disconnect it from power lines. Units without these switches can endanger utility workers.

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