Backup generators

If you have special health needs, operate critical equipment or just want to improve your home or business's safety and security, talk to PSE and learn what to consider when purchasing and installing a standby or portable generator.

For a summary of information about generators, you can view or download our standby or portable generator brochure.

For personalized advice, call an Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What to consider

Before purchasing a generator, you should consider the following:

  • Your potential power needs during a service disruption
    If you are unsure of what your power needs may be, consult a qualified electrician or electrical contractor.
  • Location variables that can impact service disruption probability (urban vs. rural, chronic severe weather, etc.)
  • Your budget

Choosing the right type

Standby generators

Standby generators are permanently installed outside of your home or business in weather-protected enclosures. They connect to a natural gas or propane fuel line, and are always ready to provide electricity in the event of a power outage.

When utility-fed power is unavailable, an automatic transfer switch (ATS) starts up the generator and transfers your location's energy usage within seconds, even if no one is monitoring. When power returns, the ATS switches your location back to the utility and shuts down the generator.

Standby generators can typically provide a larger electrical load and require minimal oversight. They test themselves weekly to ensure they are always in operational condition, and are designed to last for many years.

Portable generators

Portable generators can be connected to select electrical devices at your home or business. As they typically provide a smaller electrical load, they're not designed to power an entire building and should not be connected directly to your location's wiring.

When utility-fed power is unavailable, you will need to manually start and manage your generator's activity.

Most portable generators run on gasoline and give off carbon monoxide (CO) during use, so it's important to stay safe. For a full listing of generator safety guidelines, visit the American Red Cross.

Portable generators are available for purchase at many retailers within PSE's service area.

Purchase and installation assistance

Contact PSE for assistance with all aspects of selecting, sizing, locating, permitting and installing the necessary equipment for your generator. We make it easy for you with "one call does it all" service.

You can also request a referral for a pre-screened contractor from PSE's Contractor Alliance Network (CAN). Members of this network are fully licensed, bonded and insured, up-to-date with current energy codes and experienced in providing safe and complete generator installations.