Generators and Transfer Switches

As part of our ongoing efforts to promote safety, Emerald is offering the Generator Transfer Switch Rebate to encourage customers to safely connect their generators.


While it may seem like you can disconnect your home’s power from EPUD’s electric system by simply throwing the main breaker, doing so is extremely unsafe. Circuit breakers do not make a positive disconnection between the home electric system and EPUD’s system, and they’ve been known to fail. Without a positive disconnection, the generator can back-feed electricity to EPUD’s system through the main breaker and create a dangerous situation for line crews working to restore power. Connecting a generator this way would also bypass built-in household circuit protection devices, which could cause a surge in your home strong enough to seriously injure or kill you or a family member.

The only safe way to create a positive disconnection between the two electric systems is through the use of a professionally installed transfer switch.

Learn more in EPUD’s Rules for Generator Safety video below:

Get up to $500 cash back with our Transfer Switch Rebate!



Customer will receive a cash rebate of up to $500 per qualifying transfer switch per meter. Rebate is capped at 100% of the installed cost of the transfer switch. The total cost includes the documented costs to install the transfer switch.


  • Customer must submit a completed and signed Incentive Application to Emerald before installation at a service address within EPUD's service territory (Commercial or Residential).
  • All projects must be pre-authorized by Emerald.
  • Installation must be completed within 90 days of project pre-authorization.
  • Transfer switch must be installed by a licensed electrician, appropriately permitted and inspected by the rightful governmental agencies.
What type of generator is right for me?

Generator Types and Sizes

  • Large, fixed generators have the potential to power an entire home. They are connected to building wiring and can turn on automatically during power outages. Installation of a fixed generator must be performed by a qualified electrician and is often subject to building code requirements.
  • Portable generators are designed for use with appliances, devices, and systems that have power cords connected to them. They can be directly plugged into outlets on this type of generator.

The size of portable generator that’s right for you depends on what lights and appliances you want to use when the lights go out. Generators are rated in watts. To determine the number of watts you’ll need, start by adding up the watts used by each light, device, and appliance you want to connect, then add at least 50 percent more. The additional wattage is needed because the generator should not be run continuously at more than 80 percent of its rated capacity. Also, appliances that operate with a motor (like the refrigerator and freezer) can require two to ten times their listed wattage in order to start. Remember, the bigger the portable generator is, the more it will cost.

If you’re still unsure which type of generator will work best for you, call us! We'll be happy to discuss the different options with you and help you make an informed decision. To connect with EPUD's Energy Experts, call 541-746-1583 or email Energy Services.

Tips for using your generator safely

Once you’ve selected your generator, read the instruction manual carefully and follow all recommended safety instructions. Remember the four most important rules for using a generator safely:

  • NEVER use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage .
    Always place the generator outside in a well-ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. As an extra precaution, get a carbon monoxide monitor for your home.
  • NEVER use an undersized extension cord.
    Size the extension cord to match your equipment, or get help choosing the right cords from an electrician or qualified supplier.
  • NEVER use generators in rain or wet conditions.
    The generator must be properly grounded and located in a dry area. You must have dry hands and be standing in a dry area while operating it.
  • NEVER refuel the generator while it’s hot.
    Allow it to cool completely before refueling and always keep a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.