Generator safety


Protect yourself   •   your neighbors   •   and our crews

Generators can come in handy if the power goes out during a storm. But it’s important to use them properly to keep yourself, your neighbors and our employees safe.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when operating a generator to prevent injury, fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Prevent backfeedPrevent backfeed

Backfeed occurs when power is sent back through your home’s electrical lines in reverse, creating a dangerous level of electricity that puts our crews at risk of severe injury or death.

Permanent generators:
Make sure an electrician installs a power transfer switch before using a permanent generator. Transfer switches allow you to choose between utility power or backup generator power.

Portable generators:
Never connect generators directly to your home’s wiring or plug into a wall outlet. Consult with a licensed electrician before using.

Portable generator safety tipsPortable generator safety tips

  • Use a heavy-duty extension cord designed for outdoor use to connect appliances to the generator. Make sure the extension cord is free of cuts or tears and has a wattage rating that exceeds the total wattage of items plugged in.
  • DO NOT plug a generator into a wall outlet, your home’s breaker panel or where electric service enters your house. This may bypass your home’s built-in circuit protection devices, puts your appliances and electronics at risk of damage, and puts our employees and your neighbors at risk of shock or electrocution.
  • Follow safety guidelines when you handle and store generator fuel.
  • More safety tips at

Carbon monoxide awarness
Carbon monoxide awareness

  • Keep portable generators at least 20 ft. away from your home.
  • Never operate a generator inside your home or in other enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, including garages.
  • Always operate away from doors, windows and vents.
  • Direct the exhaust away from your home.
  • Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headaches, nausea and fatigue.

SWL&P’s parent company, ALLETE, has entered an agreement to be acquired by a partnership led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Global Infrastructure Partners and start the process to become a private company.

This transaction will not change our operations, strategy or shared purpose and values, and it is business as usual for all of us at SWL&P. Learn more at