Photo of portable generator

Should You Buy A Generator?

Power going out for a few hours proves to be not much more than an inconvenience. But when power goes out for long periods, it can be dangerous—especially in below freezing winter temperatures.

Ready for a Generator?

If you’ve decided you want a generator, your next decision is which type.

A standby or stationary generator system is permanently installed, meant to come on and off automatically when an outage occurs or ends. It normally connects to and gets its power from a large propane tank or natural gas. Such a generator can be sized to power your entire home.

A portable system is less expensive, but usually only provides enough power for basic necessities. While less expensive to buy, a portable generator can be pricey to operate, with some using up to 20 gallons of gasoline per day if run continuously.

The Most Important Feature:  Safety

Whether a stationary or portable generator becomes your choice, always keep safety in mind—for you and your family, and for our lineworkers.

If you don’t connect and operate a portable generator properly, for example, it can lead to:

  • Fire
  • Damage to home appliances and electronics
  • Deadly carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Shock and electrocution

You need a licensed electrician to connect a portable generator to your home wiring by installing a transfer switch. Since power from the generator can flow back into the power lines without a transfer switch, it can endanger the lives of lineworkers working on lines. Also, without a transfer switch, you could experience serious electrical damage due to power from the generator and Great Lakes Energy lines flowing into your home at the same time.

More Information

Find additional information on generators and generator safety on our website and in a Residential Generator Information guide published there. You can also visit for more information on generators from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

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