Two construction workers repairing power generator outdoors.

Generator Safety Tips

Generating safety

Whether it’s a summer thunderstorm, a mid-winter ice-storm, or just a very windy day, weather events are one of the leading causes of power outages for GLE members. Although our lineworkers work as quickly as they safely can to restore power following an outage, having a generator to keep the lights on and some appliances running until electric service is restored can be reassuring. Portable models will provide enough power to keep some essentials running and permanently installed standby generators will automatically turn on to provide nearly all your home’s electric needs while the power is out.

Although generators can be a blessing during a power outage, it’s important to keep the following safety tips in mind ahead of time.

It could be a matter of life and death.

Don’t do-it-yourself
Do not connect a portable generator yourself to your home wiring. Hire a licensed electrician to safely install a transfer switch. Although meter bases equipped with a built-in transfer switch can be purchased from Great Lakes Energy, GLE does not install transfer switches or meter bases. Contact a licensed electrical contractor for installation. Contact us for more information about meter base transfer switches.

Electric shock risk
If not properly isolated from the outside electrical grid by a transfer switch, electricity from a generator connected to a home’s wiring system can flow back into the power lines endangering the lives of those working to restore your power. Downed power lines can become energized endangering family members and neighbors nearby. Always assume a downed power line is energized and keep clear.

Damage to home appliances and home electronics
Another good reason to make sure a transfer switch is installed and used when your home’s generator is operating is that serious electrical damage could result to electronics and appliances in your home if power from the generator and Great Lakes Energy both flow into your home at the same time.

Fire risk
Especially for portable models, be sure not to overload a generator. This can lead to overheating and poses a fire hazard. Also, do not refuel the generator until it has cooled off. If you don’t wait, you could cause an explosion.

Beware of deadly carbon monoxide
Again, this warning is mainly directed at people using portable generator models. Operate the generator outdoors and protect it from rain and other moisture. Invest in a nonflammable cover to keep it dry. The generator should be at least 25 feet away from the house and away from doors, windows and vents. Operating a generator in a garage can result in the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide.

For additional generator safety tips, visit If you have a generator, please contact GLE at (888) 485-2537 to let us know so we can add a note your account.

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Thomas Turgeon
2 years ago

A stationary generator with an automatic transfer switch is the best way to go. My 2nd home has lost power from GLE six times so far this year. A stationary generator with an automatic transfer switch can start automatically when the power from GLE is interrupted. I don’t have to be there to take emergency steps to prevent water pipes from freezing and food does not spoil in the refrigerator. I had to buy a big 32,000 watt generator because I put in geothermal heating and cooling a few years ago. A 6,500 watt portable generator cannot run a geothermal… Read more »

Pat Callan
Pat Callan
1 year ago

If you have solar panels will GLE buy unused power assuming proper equipment is used and is properly installed?

Steve Zucker
1 year ago
Reply to  Pat Callan

Hi, Pat! GLE has two programs for people who have solar panels. One, called “Buy All/Sell All,” is for people who have systems that will produce more than they expect to use. A brief description of both programs is available at For more information, please call 888-485-2537.

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