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Linemen working to restore power after an outage believe the lines they are working on are de-energized or “dead.” Without knowing that a line has been re-energized by an improperly installed home generator, a lineman can come in contact with the live line and be seriously hurt or even killed. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can “back feed” onto the power lines connected to your home and injure neighbors or utility workers.

The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch. MLEC strives for the safety of our linemen and members.

Installation Tips: 

  • Conductor sizes from generator to transfer switch will be determined by generator capacity.

  • Over current protection for the generator will be determined by generator capacity.

  • Transfer switch shall be a double-throw type that breaks contact of ungrounded conductors. The neutral will not be broken by the switch.

  • Transfer switch will be bonded to the service entrance ground with No. 4 solid copper conductor.

  • If the transfer switch is suitable for service equipment, the over current protection between the meter base and the transfer switch is not required.

  • Tennessee law requires an inspection any time something is added to your electrical panel. 

  • Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring without an appropriate transfer switch installed.



  • Never plug a generator into a regular household outlet.

  • Never operate the generator in enclosed spaces.

  • Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords.

  • Ensure your generator is properly grounded.

  • Never overload a generator.

  • Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting the generator down.

  • Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.

  •  Never fuel a generator while it is operating.


MLEC urges anyone planning to install or use a generator to contact us for a safety brochure. 

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