Preventing Electrocutions Associated with Portable Generators Plugged Into Household Circuits.

When power lines are down, residents can use another power source such as a portable generator to restore energy to:

  • Their homes
  • Other structures

If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment. Turn off the:

  • Power at the main breaker
  • Fuse on the service panel

Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.

If it is necessary to use a portable generator, the following must be strictly followed:

  • Manufacturer recommendations
  • Specifications

If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in:

  • Installation
  • Start-up activities

The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.

Gasoline & Diesel Powered Portable Generators

When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting the generator.


  • Prevents power lines from being inadvertently energized
  • Helps protect from possible electrocution, including:
    • Utility line workers
    • Other repair workers
    • People in neighboring buildings

If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could:

  • Reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid
  • Energize power lines or electrical systems:
    • In other buildings to at or near their original voltage
    • Without the knowledge of utility or other workers