Electrical Safety

Standby generator safety

A generator can be very useful during a power outage, but remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe and proper operation. To protect yourself and your family or business, remember to follow these safety rules.

Always:

  • Have a licensed electrician install stationary or standby emergency generators.
  • Plug appliances directly into an emergency or portable generator.
  • Don’t connect a generator directly to a breaker panel, fuse box or meter box. This could cause the power lines to become energized from the generator, posing a serious threat to utility and tree-trimming crews working to restore power.
  • Obey all local, state and national electrical and fire codes.
  • Store gasoline in approved fuel containers and out of children’s reach.
  • Keep children away from generators.
  • Have a fully charged, properly rated fire extinguisher (i.e., rated for electrical and gas fires) ready at all times.
  • If you use a generator at home to provide power until your service is restored, please watch for utility crews and turn the generator off when crews are in your area. The electrical load on the power lines can be dangerous for crews making repairs. The excess electricity created by a generator can feed back onto the electric lines, severely injuring a line technician who might be working on a power line, believing it to be de-energized.

Other reminders:

  • Never connect generators to your utility service through receptacles, outlets, breakers, fuses or meter boxes.
  • Never replenish fuel in a generator while it is running.
  • Call an electrician to repair a generator; never attempt to repair it yourself.
  • Operate your generator outside. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, never use a generator indoors or in attached garages. Only operate the generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from your home’s air intakes.

Flooding guidelines

Safety is our first concern after every storm. According to the American Red Cross, electrocutions are the second-leading cause of death during and after floods. Duke Energy offers the following electrical safety guidelines when coping with flooding:
  • If rising water threatens your home – or if you evacuate your home due to flooding – turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.
  • Electric current passes easily through water, so stay away from downed electrical lines.
  • Don't drive over – and don't stand near – downed electrical lines.
  • Never replace a fuse or touch a circuit breaker with wet hands, or while standing on a wet or damp surface.
  • If your home or business is flooded, Duke Energy cannot reconnect power until the electrical system has been inspected by a licensed electrician. If there is damage, an electrician will need to make necessary repairs and obtain verification from your local building inspection authority before power can be restored.
Please refer to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for flood preparation and safety.