NEWS

NB Power ban on generator plug-in puzzles some in New Brunswick

07/19/2015 09:30 EDT | Updated 07/19/2016 05:59 EDT
Some New Brunswickers are scratching their heads over a product ban in the province that would allow a generator to power a home during hurricanes and blizzards without having to rewire.  

GenerLink is a product that allows a generator to plug directly into a power meter during a power outage. 

Almost every province in Canada has them except New Brunswick.  

"We were selling to New Brunswick for over a year, no problems," said Shawn Guild of Generator Solutions in Ontario. "Then all of a sudden they (NB Power) were like "nope, not allowing them, which was just a big slap in the face to all the electricians there that were just starting to build these up."

Guild blames NB Power for the ban despite the demand for the units across the country.

"NB Power is holding a "No Install" of GenerLinks right now. We're not sure why."

NB Power says safety first

Guild says the linkage units are in demand across the country due to the fact that they don't require an electrician to rewire a home and can be completely installed on the outside of the home.

Derek Price sells generators from Simms Home Hardware. He says the solution makes perfect sense and is most likely the cheapest option.

"Oh absolutely," said Price. "To wire your house properly, with the proper switch, and to hire an electrician to do all that, you're probably talking a thousand dollars or more."

NB Power spokesperson Brent Staben said the company is concerned about safety first. In a statement to CBC he wrote.

"Properly installed and maintained generators are a natural and welcome part of the electrical grid as it relates to the security of home electrical supply. Given our utmost concern for the safety of our customers and our own employees who could be at risk by improper generator installation, we would not want these items used to connect to our meter until such time as there was 100 per cent confidence in their safety approval."

Staben also stated that the generator plug-ins need to have Canadian Standards Association (CSA) safety approval.

Guild says the units have been approved by the Electrical Safety Authority of Canada (ESA) and by Underwriters Labs Canada (ULC.) He also said NB Power has had test units in their possession for over a year.

"They have a test unit, but they haven't gotten back to the manufacturer or us indicating it was okay for installation as of yet," said Guild. "They're certainly taking their time."

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