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Portable Standby Generators

Portable standby generators, when used properly, can provide an alternative energy source until conventional power is restored. The Electrical Safety Authority, which regulates the safe use of electrical equipment in Ontario, cautions consumers contemplating the purchase of a portable standby generator to do some homework first - for safety's sake!

Portable standby generators are fuel driven devices designed to produce electrical energy. These devices are used to power electrical equipment and appliance and are not intended to meet all the electrical requirements of a home or business. Portable standby generators should not be directly connected into a home wiring system without safety precautions being taken.

Careful purchase decisions, proper installation and diligent inspection are essential to make the portable generator safe for owners, their families, neighbours and others.

Considering buying a generator? Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Clearly understand your electricity requirements to ensure the unit is the correct size and voltage for your application. A small generator will not power many devices; understand your power requirements before purchasing a generator. 
  • Purchase the appropriate generator accessories including: 
    • an approved transfer device 
    • a properly sized connection cord and plugs 
    • some manufacturers offer complete generator packages 
  • Ensure all generator components have been approved by a recognized approval agency. Look for one of the markings identified in the right column of this page. 
  • Hire a licensed and knowledgeable electrical contractor to install the unit and get the necessary permits. 
  • Be sure to have the installation inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority

For a safety checklist for generators go to ESA’s Website: www.esasafe.com/business/alternative-generation-safety/standby-generator