Cogeneration setups, even the small grid tie inverter systems now
becoming common, have numerous safety interlocks and monitors included
in them and will not feed power to the grid side if grid power is not
present. The also have a test and certification process with the utility
verifying all is ok before they allow backfeed and install the
appropriate net metering meter. A very different setup than a simple
That said, I still stand by my other post and the point that no lineman
has ever been killed by a home generator backfeeding the utility lines,
only their own carelessness.
You can claim all you want, but there are records of this happening.
Lots of rural areas out there where only one house is on a transformer
where this is not difficult to do. Sure the linemen should be taking
enough precautions to prevent this, but the responsibility is on both
sides and if that very tiny chance of everything going just so in the
wrong way, someone can get killed or injured and someone is liable.
Please provide a cite for this. I've looked at a good number of lineman
fatality reports and have yet to find a single case.
The liability is on the side of the lineman in every case report I've
seen. It is carelessness plain and simple.
When a lineman is killed working on the lines on a normal day when they
are powered by the utilities generators, nobody takes any note of it,
but if the line is powered inadvertently by someone else's generator
it's suddenly some heinous crime. In both cases the sole responsibility
for the death rests with the lineman who was careless and did not follow
the utilities mandatory safety procedures.
There are of course some cases of lineman deaths that are not due to
their own carelessness, and those pretty much all trace back to failures
in the equipment they are using. Often this can be traced back to
carelessness on the part of other utility workers in not performing
regular inspections and maintenance of the equipment.
What part of contributory negligence do you not understand? Sure, if the
lineman takes the time to run all the checks, and takes all the safety
steps, he will probably be fine. So what? The circumstances where the
grid is down and people are using home gen sets, is usually the same
circumstances where the lineman is working long shifts, often far from
home, eating when he can, and cold and wet to boot. Even for trained
workers, that ups the chances of making an oopsie. Anybody that hooks up
a gen set without a proper transfer switch should suffer the legal
consequences if somebody gets hurt by their failure to take reasonable
precautions. Judges and juries parcel out portions of blame all the
time- two different errors, that would have been minor if they occurred
at different times, can be fatal if they happen at the same time. In
industrial world, that is why you use rubber mats and such even when the
lockout devices are in place. People screw up, and shit happens.
This last bit is where your legal theory is wrong. The mistakes on the
part of the lineman that will get them killed if a home generator is
powering the lines will also get them killed if the utility generator is
powering the lines. Utility linemen have been killed during storms when
they were being careless and another crew down the road lit up a section
too, except those cases don't get much media attention. Careless got
them killed, the source of the electrons is irrelevant.
Who gives a crap about legal? Why not spend the couple hundred bucks for
a transfer switch, and make the world a little safer for the lineman?
I'd feel awful bad if a lineman got killed (even in part) because I was
too cheap to take basic safety precautions with my generator wiring.
Using your scenario, if the next crew down the line DID do what they
were supposed to, and YOUR generator was sending the electrons down the
line, well, the source seems pretty relevant to me. Again, contributory
negligence. Sure, the lineman screwed up by not following procedure, but
if YOU had followed procedure, he'd be alive. That makes you partially
it seems to me that even if the lineman makes the proper checks,if the load
side(homeowner's side) of the line is energized,then he -cannot reconnect-
the utility's side.(phasing,voltage differences)
Not until he finds the load power source and has them disconnect.That takes
time that linemen probably will not have to spare and then the lineman
LEAVES that line unpowered until they can get back to it,LATER,much later.
That means an extra trip,and extra cost.
THAT is probably reason for a proper transfer box,the RIGHT and proper way
to do it.
No, if the lineman finds a section powered that shouldn't be, they just
follow their normal procedure and ground the line before working on it.
That takes care of both the safety issue and the offending generator in
yeah there supposed to always ground line, think of it as a
but dead is dead and probably few here would want to be responsible
for somones death......
given all this I have backfed, but very carefully....
incidently I intentially short any circuit I am working on in my home
to make certain its dead.
found a bad breaker one time doing this.
If lines are down due to ice storms or hurricanes the lineman should
exercise hightened diligence. In addition to the obvious hazards of slippery
conditions, fallen trees, poles, and lines, he can probably HEAR the goddamn
generators going putt-putt-putt all around him. I'm sure in the crew meeting
at the beginning of the shift, the sergeant says "Be careful out there -
people are using generators."
If, in view of all these warning signs, he still gets lit up, well.....
gee when the power fails while your on vacation, and return home to
frozen pipes, busted toilets and all the rest you might rethink the
lack of auto start.
if your teenager is stranded at hs girl friends home in the next storm
you might regret not replacing the battery
I'm in North Texas so we get a few tornados and some ice now and then.
The house has natural gas. Outages are measured in hours, not
My approach is a Honda EB3000. Using heavy-guage extension cords,
running 1 refrigerator, one TV and a few lights is all that I try to
do. Maybe a fan or two in the summer. We have gas logs as well as a
propane construction heater that uses very little power. There are
also lanterns, camp stoves and a NG cooktop.
I have loaned out the generator (as well as the red gas cans that go
into short supply) a few times to friends in Miss. as well as East
Texas after hurricanes.
kohler has some new whole house nat gas gensets for about 4,000.00
i happened to see some on ebay . they are enclosed in a metal box.
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