New Brunswick

New Brunswick ban on generator plug-in puzzles product manufacturer

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.

NB Power says generator plug-ins need to have Canadian Standards Association (CSA) safety approval

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

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

NB Power says it is only following the recommendations of the province.

"[The provincial chief inspector of technical inspection services] will not approve Generlink and have asked NBP not to insteall it on our meters," spokesperson Brent Staeben wrote in an email to CBC News.

Staeben says without signoff from the province, the technology will remain blacklisted.

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.

Shawn Guild says the units have been approved by the Electrical Safety Authority of Ontario and approval from Underwriters Labs Canada (ULC) is pending. (GenerLink.com)

"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."

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 Ontario and by Underwriters Labs. 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."

NB Power spokesperson Deborah Nobes denied Guild's statement about test products in an email to CBC News, saying NB Power does not have test units in its possession.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Guild says the product was approved by the Electrical Safety Authority of Canada. It should have stated Guild says the product was approved by the Electrical Safety Authority of Ontario. The earlier version also said the product ban was imposed by NB Power, when in fact the Department of Public Safety has not approved the product's use in the province. The earlier version also stated the units have been approved by Underwriter Labs Canada. In fact, they have been approved by Underwriter Labs and approval from Underwriter Labs Canada is pending.
    Jul 22, 2015 10:02 AM AT

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