Cooperative Review - February 2024

Member newsletter for Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative


Generator safety tips

Outages caused by winter storms prompt many families to consider the purchase of a generator to prepare for the possibility of future power outages. Before using a generator, make sure you pick the right generator for you and know how to use it properly for the safety of electric line workers and your family.

Never connect a standby generator into your home’s electrical system. There are only two safe ways to connect a standby generator to your equipment.

Stationary generator

An approved generator transfer switch, which keeps your house circuits separate from the electric cooperative, should be installed by a professional.

A double-throw transfer switch must be used for 240-volt appliances, as well as for hard-wired appliances like furnaces or water pumps.

A polarized outdoor-rated extension cord connects the generator to a fused outlet
that feeds the transfer switch. The switch prevents your generator from feeding electricity back into SMECO’s lines and causing injury or possibly killing linemen working to restore your power.

The transfer switch must be installed by a licensed electrician and inspected by an electrical inspector to prevent house fires and ensure that the generator is not overloaded.

Portable generator

Plug appliances directly into the outlet provided on the generator.

Set up and run your generator in an unheated, covered, well-ventilated area outside the home. Make sure it’s out and away from your garage, doors, windows, and vents. The carbon monoxide generated is deadly.

Use a heavy-duty extension cord to connect electric appliances to the outlet on the generator. Any appliance that is not permanently wired into the home’s electrical system can be operated with polarized extension cords from the generator. Generally, #10 and #12 wire size extension cords are needed for 1,200- to 1,800-watt loads. Be careful! Overloading extension cords may cause a fire.

Start the generator first before connecting appliances.

For information about choosing a portable generator, contact your local generator dealer.



Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES.

Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide.
This is a poison you cannot see or smell.