When Hurricane Isabel tore through North Carolina and Virginia in September of 2003, more than 6 million people were left without power in its wake. Many people, especially in rural areas, would be without power for weeks. In central Virginia, generators suddenly became an extremely rare and valuable commodity, with reports coming in of price gouging and theft of generators from homes and commercial sites.
With this new influx of people using generators for the first time coupled with the lack of lead time for a professional electrician to come to the house and install a transfer switch, many people hooked their generators up to their homes in incredibly unsafe ways. Some people rigged up double sided cords from the generator into a dryer outlet in an attempt to back feed their system, but with no precaution to ensure that the main breaker would remain in the off position. Others draped extension cords all over their homes to power the things that they needed to run.
That was when the idea came to Douglas Albertson, managing partner of Generator InterLock Technologies in Richmond, Virginia. He felt that there needed to be an easier way for a consumer that didn’t have the budget or the space for an automatic or manual transfer switch to safely connect their portable generator to their existing electrical system. So he set out to develop a product that would meet National Electrical Code requirements and at the same time be cost effective and convenient for the homeowner. Thus the idea for the InterLock kit was born and in 2005, it was officially launched under the Generator InterLock Technologies (GIT) company.
The InterLock Kit is a simple safety product that locks out the main breaker in the existing home panel and allows for the portable generator to power the home through a back feed generator breaker. While many electrical inspectors initially liked the product, they all agreed that the product would have to be listed to UL standards. After thousands of dollars in fees, rigorous tests, a year of changes and modifications, the Interlock Kit was finally approved for production under UL Standard 67.
The InterLock Kit attaches to the front of the panel cover between the Main breaker and a 2-pole Generator breaker that is mounted in the 2, 4 position. The kit consists of two independents plates that are precision laser cut from stainless steel with custom mounting hardware. The back plate sits firmly against the panel cover and the front plate sits on top of the back. The top plate slides between the Main and Generator breakers, allowing only one breaker to be on at one time. This safely locks out any chance of power being back fed out to the main line, potentially causing injury to linemen or others.
The Interlock Kits are designed to be installed by licensed electricians and are cost effective for both the customer and the installer. Other products on the market such as generator sub-panels and transfer switches require extensive rewiring of the home panel, often taking the electrical contractor 6 to 8 hours to install. With the Interlock Kit, a qualified electrician can install a complete system in 2 hours or less by simply mounting the correct kit to the face of the panel and wiring a generator convenience inlet to a breaker installed in the panel.
To use their portable generator, a homeowner plugs an extension cord from their generator to the new generator convenience inlet. He then starts the generator, turns off the main breaker, slides the Interlock Kit, turns on the generator breaker and selects the circuits for use up to the capacity of the generator.
In 2005, the individual kits were listed under UL 67 standards allowing easy acceptance of the product by local electrical inspectors. As the number of different kits grew, the practice of UL Listing individual kits was reviewed by Wyle Laboratories and OSHA and in 2009, Interlock Kits were approved for all panels that are listed to UL 67standards. With over 40 standard kits, GIT now offers kits to fit almost every panel that has been sold in the United States in the past 30 years. For special case situations, GIT offers custom designs including kits for 3 Phase panels and load centers.
Generator Interlock Technologies’ InterLock Kit is a defining safety product that was recognized as an Innovation Award Winner by Electrical Contracting Products Magazine and one of the Top Products Of The Year by Electrical Products and Solutions Magazine.
From selling product by word of mouth in 2005, GIT has become a recognized supplier of an innovative electrical device that is marketed through electrical supply houses and a web based store that offers same day shipping directly to customers.
For 8 years, Generator Interlock Technologies, LLC, has taken a problem of safety and convenience and developed an easy and cost effective system to keep danger and expenses to a minimum. Starting with an idea of making a simple solution to a complex problem, GIT continues to grow due to its commitment to deliver a quality product. Visit www.interlockkit.com for a complete list of products and details.
Generator InterLock Technologies Phone: 804-726-2448
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