©2023 Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Avoid safety risks and potential property damage
It is important to know how to safely use your generator or battery. This will help you avoid safety risks and potential damage to your property. Improperly using equipment can increase the risk of a fire.
- Always follow the operational and maintenance instructions set by the manufacturer
- Never connect a generator to another power source (this includes PG&E powerlines)
Make sure you can operate the equipment before an emergency happens. This means doing regular safety checks and being sure you have enough fuel to last a few days.
Portable generator safety
- Make sure you maintain your generator as outlined in the owner’s manual.
- Be sure that the power needs of the device (electric load) are supported by your generator. Do not go above the specifications set by the manufacturer.
- Place your generator where its exhaust can safely vent. This prevents carbon monoxide poisoning and death. Do not place it indoors or in a garage.
- To prevent overheating, use the right size extension cords for your generator. The American Wire Gauge (AWG) chart (PDF) can be used to find which extension cord is right for you.
- Never run cords under rugs or carpets. This is because heat can be generated or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
- Have fuel on hand so the generator is ready to use when you need it. Do not store fuel inside the house.
Permanent generator safety
- This type of generator is trickier to install. This is because there is a direct connection to a home or business electric system. We suggest you use a professional.
- A permanent generator should be placed on high ground, where flooding is not likely. Building code requirements must also be taken into account.
- Make sure power from your generator does not flow or backfeed into PG&E powerlines.
- Have any changes to your house wiring inspected by your city or county’s building department. Check with this department for any other requirements.
- Once installation is complete, contact us to let us know about your backup system. We will then be aware of your generator when working on an outage in your area.
- Do not store fuel inside the house.
Portable battery safety
- Follow all warnings and instructions from the manufacturer.
- Never put a battery in a completely sealed environment.
- Do not smoke or have open flames near batteries.
- If storing on shelves or racks, make sure they are secure.
- Do not run the portable battery in the rain.
- Keep your battery fully charged so it’s ready to use when you need it.
More on safety
Your safety is our top priority.
Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP)
Find out how we are making our system safer and more reliable.
Outage preparedness and support
Stay prepared for power outages and get support.