Information Officer II
Department of Information & Public Relations
Deputy General Manager for the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC), Mr. Henry Creque is reminding the public to practice the safe usage of generators and ‘Hook It Up Right’.
Mr. Creque said that it is extremely important to promote generator safety due to significant risks and hazards associated with these devices.
He said, “We would like the public to know what those risks are because it can cause injury or even death to the themselves and to the BVIEC staff.”
Mr. Creque stressed that curbing the practice of backfeeding is one of the corporation’s greatest priority in educating the public on generator safety.
Backfeeding occurs when a generator is hooked up incorrectly by not only powering the home, but sending the energy back out to the electricity. This reckless and dangerous practice presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbours served by the same utility transformer.
“In fact in the corporation’s history there has been one fatality where one of our linesmen was electrocuted and died and that was from a generator backfeeding unto the grid,” Mr. Creque added.
Backfeeding is an illegal practice and persons should NEVER attempt to directly power their home or business with modified electrical equipment such as double male extension cords that can cause backfeeding.
Other tips to follow when connecting a generator to your home or business include:
- Turn on generators outdoors as high levels of poisonous carbon monoxide gas is released.
- Ensure that your portable generator is covered and vented. Do not run the device in the rain.
- Before refueling, turn off your gasoline-powered generator and let it cool.
- Never plug appliances directly into the generator. Use a heavy duty extension cord.
- Use a heavy-duty extension cord for outdoor use, rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads.
- Start the generator first BEFORE connecting appliances.
- Contact a licensed electrician to connect standby generators.
- Do not store fuel near a running generator.
- Never plug a generator directly into your home’s power outlets. You can get electrocuted as well as the utility workers attempting to restore power.
All standby generators that will be connected to a home or business must be registered with the Ministry of Communications and Works. Call 494-2183 to register.
For a list of certified licensed electrician, persons should telephone the Electrical Inspection Unit at 468-3603 and in the event of a fire please telephone the Fire and Rescue Service at 999 or 911.
Don’t take the risk: hook it up right!