When there is a power outage, the need for using a power generator can be important especially for maintaining medical equipment or for comfort in a home. However, improperly used power generators are a hazard to the public and to the lineman working on the power lines.
Backfeeding occurs when a generator (whether permanent or portable) is plugged into a home’s wiring or directly in to a circuit breaker panel and generated electricity is pushed back into the power lines coming in to the home. A utility transformer can step up the backfeed to thousands of volts, re-energizing “downed” power lines and becoming an electrocution hazard to LUS linemen and technicians working on repairs farther down the line.
To be safe, it is recommended to hire a qualified electrician to install a manual transfer switch to isolate the home’s electrical system. The manual transfer switch will prevent the generator from pushing electricity out into the utility lines as well as protect the generator once power is restored in to the line by LUS.
Remember that all gas, diesel, propane and natural gas generators produce carbon monoxide. If the generator is not in a well-ventilated area, toxic levels of this colorless, odorless gas can build up quickly. Carbon monoxide claims hundreds of lives a year and makes thousands more ill. It is recommended to use generators outside and more than 20 feet away from home, doors and windows.
When properly used, generators can supply safe power during emergency situations.
To report a power outage, please call LUS at (337) 291-9200.