Do I need a permit to install a generator?
No, not at this time


  • Generators must be installed no closer than 5ft. from opening (doors & windows)
  • Generators must be install no closer than 3 ft. from structures of combustible materials
  • Generators must be installed according to manufactures recommendations / requirements
  • Generators must be labeled at the meter and main electrical panels

Please read the following information on the safe installation of a generator.

Standby electric generators can provide you an extra sense of security in view of New York unpredictable weather and the occasional resulting power outage. We understand that a generator can be a convenient source of power around your home or business. We only ask, for your sake and power company employees, that generators be properly installed and used safely. Even small, portable electric generators - if they’re used improperly - can threaten you safety and the safety of power company linemen working on the electrical system.

To protect yourself and your family, read and follow the safety instructions contained in every generator operations manual. Before purchasing a generator, please consider how you’ll be using it. That will help you ensure that you are buying a generator that is correctly sized for the application you have in mind. Next, you’ll need to know how it should be installed, and where to safely operate it. Finally, you’ll want to read the summary of safety tips presented here to ensure the generator is correctly installed and used properly.

Portable Generators

  • Portable, gasoline-driven generators are designed to be used with appliances with cords connected to them. They can be especially convenient to use in remote locations, such as camping sites or construction areas.
  • Lights, small appliances, etc. can be plugged directly into outlets on portable generators. In general, they are not designed to be connected to your home or any building wiring. Do not attempt to personally install these devices to your electrical panel. You should use a transfer switch and be installed by a license electrical technician, and inspected for your safety.

Fixed Generators

  • Large, fixed generators generally are directly connected to building wiring to provide standby power during emergencies and power outages. However, the wiring needs to be properly installed by a qualified electrical contractor. Properly installing a “permanent” generator is extremely dangerous, and not a “do it yourself” job.
  • If you plan to have this type of generator installed, you may need to obtain an electrical permit from electrical contractor.

“Back Feeding” - a dangerous condition
Improperly connecting a portable generator to electric wiring can produce “back feed” - a dangerous current that can electrocute or critically injure you or others. Back feed into power lines from a generator could create “hot” power lines during an outage. Linemen who expect the line to be de-energized could be injured.

One good way to avoid back feeding is to install a double-pole, double-throw transfer-switch gear. A qualified electrical contractor can install this transfer switch so that a dangerous back feed can be prevented.
“In accordance with the 2005 National Electric Code, paragraph 700-6; "Transfer equipment including automatic transfer switches, shall be automatic, identified for emergency use, and approved by the authority having jurisdiction. Transfer equipment shall be designed and installed to prevent the inadvertent interconnection of normal and emergency sources of supply in any operation of the transfer equipment. be designed and installed to prevent the inadvertent interconnection of normal and emergency sources of supply in an operation of the transfer equipment...."

The switch also will prevent utility power from damaging the generator when regular service is restored.

The dangers of carbon monoxide
When using a generator, be sure to locate it outside so poisonous carbon monoxide gas is exhausted. Never operate a generator in an enclosed building, especially in a building attached to a dwelling. Make certain, too, that the generator has enough air to breath and that it’s exhaust is vented properly. Fumes from burnt fuel can be deadly. Always insure proper ventilation, and air flow around the generator.

Generators and water don’t mix
Do not use a portable generator in a flooded basement. That could be a dangerous combination. In addition, make sure your hands are dry, that you’re standing in a dry place, and the generator is properly grounded whenever you operate your generator.

Using gasoline safely
Gasoline should only be stored in approved containers, and out of reach of children. It goes without saying that all flames or cigarettes should be extinguished when handling gasoline. Have a fully charged, approved extinguisher located near the generator, and never fuel a generator when the generator is running. Do not store fuel inside your house!
Here are some rules to follow to help assure that generators are installed and used safely:

  • Always check out the unit thoroughly each new season before you fire it up
  • Never attempt to repair an electric generator, only a qualified serviceman should perform repairs
  • Don’t remove or tamper with safety devices; they are there to protect you and your property.
  • Many engine parts are very hot during operation; severe burns may result if touched.
  • Keep children away from generators at all times
  • Always properly disconnect from your utility service before starting your backup generator
  • Don’t put your life at risk
  • Electric generators can provide you with piece of mind and convenience as long as you don’t take chances with your safety or the safety of others. Be sure to follow these safety guidelines so you don’t put yourself or the lives of others in danger.
  • Improper use or installation of an electric generator can cause property damage, serious injury and even death