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■ play it safe


Standby Generators Make sure yours has a transfer switch before operating


BY GUY DALE COORDINATOR OF SAFETY & LOSS CONTROL


crews are performing dangerous work in conditions that are less than comfortable. Meanwhile co-op members are exposed to downed lines and other hazards, not to mention the discomfort of living without power in freezing temperatures. Any way you look at it, the situation is rife with danger.


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Some of you may have relied on a standby generator to energize your home during the storm. Others who didn’t have one may be thinking about purchasing one. Either way, please make sure you have a transfer switch installed prior to operating your generator.


Without this important safety enhancement, you are violating the National Electrical Safety Code. More importantly, you are risking the lives of others.


How a Transfer Switch Works


Standby generators should have a transfer safety switch installed by a professional. An approved generator transfer switch keeps your home circuits separate from the electric co-op, and pre- vents power from back feeding on to co-op lines.


storm like the one we experienced last month makes me very nervous for a number of reasons. Co-op


Removing a meter and plugging a generator into a meter socket is no longer acceptable.


Generators that aren't properly wired into your home can back feed electricity onto Choctaw Electric lines and electrocute co- op crew members— or anyone who comes into contact with electric lines.


A transfer switch prevents this from happening by isolating the new, temporary power source from the main power lines feeding your home.


Please make sure your standby generator is properly installed and includes a transfer switch. If you aren’t sure or have questions about operating your generator, please don’t hesitate to call us at 800-780-6486. It’s important for the safety of your CEC repair crews, and your family. ■


Guy Dale oversees CEC safety programs. He also teaches CPR courses for the public. To visit with him about a safety concern or to schedule a CPR class, please call him at 800-780-6486, ext. 227.


Generator Safety Tips: •


Portable generators should never be plugged directly into a home outlet or electrical system: Use an extension cord to plug appliances into an outlet on the generator. Standby generators require a transfer switch.


• Never operate a generator in a confined area such as your home, garage, basement or crawl space or any other enclosed or partially enclosed area, even areas with ventilation. Generators produce gases, including deadly carbon monoxide that can be nearly impossible to detect until its too late.





Generators pose electrical risks, especially when operated in wet conditions. Protect the generator by operating it under an open, canopy-like structure on a dry surface where water cannot form puddles or drain underneath it. Be sure that your hands are dry before touching the generator.





Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, following manufacturer’s instructions.


• When you refuel the generator, make sure the engine is cool. This helps to prevent a fire from starting if the tank should overflow.





There should be nothing plugged into the generator when you turn it on. This prevents a power surge from damaging your generator and your appliances.


Lucky Account #38747200. $50 BILL CREDIT! If this number matches the account number on your bill, you must notify CEC by the 10th of month (via email, phone, or in person) to claim the $50 bill credit. (Unclaimed credits roll over to the next month; up to a $100 bill credit.) Please call 800-780-6486, ext. 207.


12 | january 2014


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