Designing Generator Docking Station Installations

Adding a generator docking station to a new or existing facility is a useful solution which requires careful planning to ensure a successful and safe installation.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the differences between different docking station configurations.
  • Learn special considerations for emergency and service entrance docking station installations.
  • Understand what accessories should be specified for different docking station installations.

Generator Insights

  • Generator docking stations can be used for backup power systems.
  • There are many considerations when specifying these generator docking stations. Depending on the application and if a permanent generator is included, this may include a portable load bank connection.

Generators have become commonplace as a piece of facility infrastructure to support critical building loads. Though these backup power systems are often reliable, they are not perfect. Permanent backup power systems can become unavailable due to planned outages for maintenance or unplanned outages due to component failure.

Engineers must plan for these contingencies, as well as provide systems that comply with the latest NFPA 70: National Electrical Code requirements. One product that is becoming increasingly common as a solution is the generator docking station.

A consistent trend has emerged in modern commercial and industrial power system design: The desire for increased resilience for critical systems. Resilience can be defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” In the context of power systems, it is no surprise the desire to recover quickly from a difficulty such as an unexpected power outage is in high demand.

This increased demand for more resilient power systems has taken on many forms and has resulted in many different project types for consulting engineers to design. Some examples of the project types are:

  • Generator and transfer switch replacements.
  • Generator plant upgrades with Day One paralleling or future paralleling.
  • Redundant utility services.
  • Generator docking stations (retrofits for existing facilities and new builds).
  • Portable Generator and Manual transfer switch additions.
  • Portable Load Bank Connection and Portable Generator Connection for existing Permanent Generators.

Generator docking stations are interesting because of their increasing prevalence in new and existing buildings. Docking stations are not new, but they have significantly evolved from the docking stations of the past.

NEC code requirements

We have seen a significant uptick in the demand for generator docking stations because of this desire for increased resiliency, but also because of new code requirements in NEC. In the 2017 edition of NEC, section 700.3(F) was added to the “Emergency Systems” article. This new section, titled “Temporary Source of Power for Maintenance or Repair of the Alternate Power Source,” requires that emergency systems with a single generator “Include permanent switching means to connect a portable or temporary alternate source of power, which shall be available for the duration of the maintenance or repair.”

This code section also has four exceptions which would permit the omission of this permanent switching means:

  • Exception No. 1: “All processes that rely on the emergency system source are capable of being disabled during maintenance or repair of the emergency source of power.” This exception allows the temporary source to be omitted if the emergency loads can be switched off. This may not be practical for some applications where emergency systems such as fire alarm and egress lighting cannot be disabled.
  • Exception No. 2: “The building or structure is unoccupied and fire protection systems are fully functional and do not require an alternate power source.” It is difficult to see how one could be confident that a building would be unoccupied during the time that an emergency generator would need to be repaired, though there may be some building types where this exception could be applied. Buildings with fire pumps that are required to have an alternate power source would not be permitted to utilize this exception.
  • Exception No. 3: “Other temporary means can be substituted for the emergency system.” It is not clear what temporary means would be permitted to qualify for this exception; therefore this would need to be determined by the authority having jurisdiction.
  • Exception No. 4: “A permanent alternate emergency source, such as, but not limited to, a second on-site standby generator or separate electric utility service connection, capable of supporting the emergency system, exists.” This exception allows paralleled generator systems to be excluded from this code requirement as well as a separate utility service.

While it may be tempting for engineers to fall back on these exceptions to reduce the upfront electrical system cost, it is advisable to discuss the pros and cons of having a generator docking station with the owner. The owner may prefer to install the docking station despite the additional cost to increase reliability and reduce any possible liability should the permanent emergency system experience a failure.

Another requirement of section 700.3(F) is that temporary source switching means contain a contact for indicating the permanent emergency power source is disconnected. This signal must be annunciated at a location remote from the generator or at another facility monitoring system. This is a critical monitoring component that should not be overlooked by engineers and inspectors alike. Successful implementation of this code requirement will ensure the switching means is less likely to be left in the wrong position during the transition back from the temporary to the permanent emergency power source.

Two docking station configurations

There are a few ways where a docking station can be configured to allow a temporary generator to provide power to the permanently installed emergency electrical system.

Common load bus configuration: The first way a docking station can be introduced into an electrical system is by connecting the load side of the docking station to the load side of the generator. In a practical application, this can be accomplished by providing a single feeder from the distribution point for the generator, which may be a panelboard or switchboard (Figure 1). This solution is ideal for retrofit applications, where the generator and emergency distribution system equipment are already installed. This configuration can also be ideal for site configurations where the docking station location is not near the permanent generator location. To comply with NEC 700.3(F), a mechanical or electrical interlock must be installed to prevent the inadvertent connection of two power sources. The simplest way to provide this interlock is with a mechanical key type locking mechanism, which is configured to require the generator circuit breaker to be in the open position before the temporary generator connectors can be accessed.

Figure 1: The common load bus configuration connects the docking station directly to a generator distribution panelboard.

In-line configuration: For this configuration, the docking station is placed between the generator and the distribution equipment (Figure 2). One advantage of this configuration over the common load bus is it does not require a separate feeder from the distribution equipment, providing reduced material and labor costs. This configuration is ideal for situations where the docking station can be placed near the permanent generator location.

Figure 2: The in-line configuration places the docking station between the generator and the generator distribution panelboard.

Particular attention should be paid to the quantity and location of circuit breakers, which are integral to the docking station, as well as the point the permanent generator conductors are terminated. In some single circuit breaker configurations, the conductors on the load side of the permanent generator circuit breaker remain energized when the temporary generator is connected. This creates a potentially dangerous situation, especially if the generator is undergoing maintenance and the technicians are not aware of this condition. The recommended solution is to specify a docking station circuit breaker configuration that fully isolates the generator conductors from the temporary generator source.

Load bank considerations

When a generator docking station is installed, a piece of equipment, which is permanently wired to the emergency power distribution equipment is now accessible at the exterior of the building. For project applications that warrant the frequent use of portable load banks, this presents a great opportunity to make load bank hook-ups quick and efficient. Docking stations are available in configurations designed for load banks only, but it is likely the design engineer or facility owner will also want the capability of connecting a temporary generator. In this situation, it is recommended a dual-purpose docking station be specified. A dual-purpose docking station contains male connectors for temporary generator cables and female connectors for portable load bank cables (Figure 3). The male connectors for the temporary generator can be placed behind a keyed door; this keyed lock can be part of the safety interlocking system designed to prevent the inadvertent energization of multiple power sources at the same time. The female connectors are available to allow a load bank to be connected.

Figure 3: ESL Dual purpose docking station connections for a load bank and temporary generator.

It is highly recommended a circuit breaker be provided for the load bank connections. This circuit breaker provides a convenient way to energize and de-energize the load bank connectors, but it also allows the user to automatically disconnect the load bank should a utility outage cause any of the transfer switches to transfer their load onto the generator bus. To successfully implement this safeguard against overloading the generator during load bank testing the load bank circuit breaker must have a shunt trip coil, which is wired so the coil is energized when any of the transfer switches close their engine start circuit contacts. When designing this shunt trip circuit, it is important to coordinate the voltage source designated for the shunt trip coil with the circuit breaker’s specifications provided by the docking station manufacturer.

Service entrance applications

Docking stations have applications beyond just emergency systems. Many facility owners recognize the value in having the option to bring in a larger temporary generator sized to power the entire facility. For this type of application, a docking station (or more appropriately a Manual Transfer Switch) can be installed between the main power transformer for the building and the main switchboard or distribution panel. This design allows a portable generator to take the place of the utility service in the event of a prolonged outage.

When designing a docking station (MTS) for a service entrance application, the design engineer should consider specifying a docking station with an integral circuit breaker. The addition of this circuit breaker offers multiple advantages such as:

  • Provides a safe and convenient location to disconnect utility power.
  • The temporary generator installer does not have to gain entry to the building to disconnect utility power.
  • The circuit breaker can replace the main overcurrent protective device often found in the main switchboard (Figure 4) (Note: this only applies for installations in which the docking station is located near where the conductors enter the building as required per NEC 225.32).

Figure 4: Insulated-case main circuit breakers with key interlock installed in an ESL service entrance docking station.

It is important to specify a mechanical interlock on the docking station; this mechanism prevents the temporary generator installer from gaining access to the terminations before opening the utility circuit breaker. It is also important to consider this point in the electrical system will often see high fault currents since it is so close to the utility transformer. Most manufacturers will be able to provide a 65kA short-circuit interrupting rating as part of their standard offering. If the available fault current exceeds 65kA, a 100kA rated docking station (MTS) must be specified. A 100kA rated docking station (MTS) may not be available from all manufacturers, so it is important to understand what manufacturers can meet this specification requirement should the application call for it.

When implementing a service entrance docking station, the design engineer and installers should pay particular attention to the grounding system connections. The usual methods of installing a main bonding jumper between the grounded service conductor and the equipment grounding bus still apply when installing a docking station. NEC article 250 requires this bonding jumper be installed at either the service transformer or the enclosure of the first disconnecting means, which would be the generator docking station in this case.

Fire pump installation requirements

Fire pump installations have specific requirements outlined in NEC article 695. When applying a generator docking station solution to a project with a fire pump backed up by a generator, special attention should be paid to the location of the fire pump disconnecting means.

A typical design strategy for serving a fire pump from a generator is to provide a dedicated circuit breaker on the generator set. Very often this is an ideal solution for powering a fire pump from the generator, as it allows the conductors to be kept outside of the building all the way from the generator to the fire pump room, therefore eliminating the need to use expensive two-hour fire rated cabling. However, the addition of a generator docking station in an in-line configuration introduces a new problem: the fire pump’s emergency power feeder will not be energized if a temporary generator is utilized while the permanent generator is switched off for maintenance or repair. This situation is the exact opposite of what the introduction of NEC 700.3(F) is trying to achieve. One possible solution to this problem is installing the fire pump disconnecting means directly adjacent to the docking station with the conductors tapped from the load bus of the docking station.

An alternate method for feeding the fire pump from the generator is providing a feeder from a common generator bus such as a distribution panelboard or switchboard. In this setup, the fire pump feeder overcurrent device will be energized when the docking station is powered from a temporary generator. However, depending on the location of the fire pump room, this situation may require the use of two-hour fire rated cabling if the feeder is to be routed within the building. The implications of putting the fire pump disconnecting means at a convenient location such as generator equipment should be evaluated to determine if the advantages outweigh any additional costs.

Engine start considerations

A code requirement that cannot be overlooked is the engine starting requirements for temporary emergency power sources. NEC 700.3(F)(2) references the same code article (NEC 700.12) that applies to permanently installed generators, which requires the generator to start and transfer the load within 10 seconds. To comply with this requirement, engine start wiring should be provided from the transfer switch generator start terminals to the docking station, as this will provide a convenient point for the temporary generator installer to access the start signal wiring.

Accessories for docking stations

Docking stations have many optional accessories that should be considered for inclusion based on the application requirements. Common available accessories are listed below (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Typical docking station accessories (from left to right): Fuses, ERMS Switches, dehumidistat, and thermostat.

1. 2-wire auto start contacts: A set of posts that provides a convenient and readily accessible set of contacts for connecting the auto start signal from the building transfer switches to the temporary generator.

2. Convenience receptacles/shore power connections: Many temporary generators have separate power connections for jacket water heaters, space heaters, battery chargers and service receptacles. Receptacles can be provided integral to the docking station to keep all the connections in a single convenient location. Most temporary generator optional connections are 120V. These connections are typically only necessary for applications where the temporary generator may be sitting idle for a period of time.

3. Load shed receptacle: For applications where the docking station is serving as a connection point for a load bank, this feature will allow the load bank to automatically be shed if the utility power goes down during a load bank test.

4. Utility indicator lights: Lights which illuminate when the utility voltage is present. This feature can be helpful for the contractors to confirm that utility has been restored before disconnecting the temporary generator (Figure 6).

5. Thermostat and strip heater: Prevents condensation accumulation inside the docking station cabinet.

6. Phase rotation monitor: This device helps the contractor verify the temporary generator phase rotation is correct before energizing the load. It should be noted that NEC 700.3(F) requires this accessory for docking stations serving emergency systems. Even in situations where a phase rotation monitor is not code required, it is recommended that this accessory be provided (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Phase rotation monitor and indicator lights.

How generator docking stations help

Adding a generator docking station can be a very useful solution for complying with current codes and improving system reliability during generator maintenance and repairs. However, the introduction of another system component can increase complexity, so it is critical that docking station installations receive a detailed engineering design to provide a safe and reliable system.

If you’re looking for assistance on specifying or designing a generator docking station, ESL can help! Contact our team now.

View the original article and related content on Consulting Specifying Engineer

Emergency Power Q&A

Emergency Power connection solutions Q&A

Many questions arise when beginning your first emergency power connection equipment project. ESL has put together some Frequently Asked Questions from customers throughout the years to assist as you move forward with choosing your back up power solution.


Q: How do I know what product will best work with my specific needs?
A: ESL’s knowledgeable sales personnel will gladly assist with helping to identify the proper product for your application. The key factors will be the voltage system and the desired emergency load that is to be fed.

Q: What is UL 1008 and how does it affect me? 
A: Local building inspectors typically require all new electrical equipment installed in their jurisdiction to be “Listed” which means the equipment has been approved by Underwriter Laboratories or another recognized test lab. For standby systems that allow portable generator connection, UL 1008 is the proper standard to comply to. If the equipment is not Listed, it may not be acceptable to the inspector.

Q: Is it difficult to make the generator connection to the StormSwitch®, TripleSwitch® or TempTap® product line?
A: No, they utilize the industry standard 400A series 16 cam-style connectors. ESL’s StormSwitch, TripleSwitch and TempTap are color-coded to the voltage, e.g. 208Y/120 green, white, black, red, blue.

Q: Do the generators have the same color-coded plugs that the StormSwitch, TempTap, and TripleSwitch have? 
A: ESL cannot guarantee that. Industry standard is green for ground, white for neutral, and typically black for “A” phase, red for “B” phase and blue for “C” phase. When entering in an agreement for generator service, it is recommended that you request the aforementioned color-coding for the cams.


 Q: What are the advantages/disadvantages of using a manual transfer switch with a portable generator versus an automatic transfer switch with a permanent generator?
A: Advantages:
Significantly lower cost
No on-site fuel storage required
No maintenance or standard periodic testing
Easier installation – days instead of weeks
Smaller size
Portable generator can be rented or used at other facilities
Permanent generator requires multiple permits

Longer time before generator power is established

Q: Can the StormSwitch be Service Entrance Rated?
A: Yes, the StormSwitch has the option to be SUSE (Suitable for Use as Service Entrance in the USA). This option should only be used when the StormSwitch is installed at the building service entrance.

 Q: What is the reason an additional circuit breaker is available with the purchase of a StormSwitch?
A: Circuit breakers provide over current protection; switches do not. If the supplied generator does not have built in over current protection, then it is recommended that the generator disconnect and the StormSwitch be equipped with a circuit breaker rather than a switch. Also depending on your specific application, you may or may not need over current protection on the utility side. Again, ESL’s knowledgeable Sales personnel will gladly help you in deciding what combination works best for your application.

 Q: How does the StormSwitch compare to a standard “double-throw” or “double-key” transfer box?
A: The traditional “safety switch” and/or “double-throw” switches do not provide the over current protection option that is available in ESL’s StormSwitch. These “safety switch” and/or “double-throw” switches are intended for “hard wiring” and therefore would require a licensed electrician (difficult to find one available as they are in high demand during power outages) to connect and disconnect the generator.

 Additional StormSwitch Q&A can be found here


 Q: What is a TempTap?
A; Also referred to as a docking station or tap box, ESL’s TempTap is a means for direct connection from the generator to the building’s switchgear.

Q: Is there any protection offered in a TempTap?
A: Locking doors and internal connection points to keep unauthorized persons from the device. The TempTap is designed to be a safe and simple pass-through box mounted to the outside of a building. It should be used in conjunction with a with a transfer switch or a utility disconnect.


 Q: What is the TripleSwitch designed to do?
A: The UL 1008 Listed TripleSwitch was designed to simplify and reduce the cost of load bank testing procedures and to provide a backup for the permanent generator. This unique 3-way manual transfer switch system provides a quick and completely safe way with mechanically interlocked breakers to supply power to the facility from a portable emergency standby generator in the event the utility power is disrupted due to a power loss when the permanent generators are offline.

Q: I know it’s easy to show the ease of use and the safety aspects of the TripleSwitch, but are there other advantages as well?
A: Yes, an added benefit is a reduction in down time when connecting and disconnecting for load bank testing. Having quick connect cam locks for connecting the portable load bank means set up time is reduced to minutes not hours.

Q: How difficult is this to install a TripleSwitch on a job site?
A: Being UL1008 Listed means the TripleSwitch is built in an enclosure designed to provide the proper bend radius and space for the cable amperage being used. The TripleSwitch is an integrated unit with all necessary breakers and cam-lock connections. This means the contractor is installing one unit thus reducing conduit runs and cable lengths as opposed to alternative multiple unit and switchgear solutions that would require multiple conduit runs.

Q: Can I install the TripleSwitch with an existing permanent generator?
A: Yes, very easily. Being an integrated unit, you typically do not need to design-in new breakers and interlock methods. It is a drop-in solution connecting into the existing connection between the ATS and permanent generator.

ESL’s knowledgeable sales personnel is here to answer any additional questions you may have. Please feel free to contact us! ESL is always here to help!

Power U: As Utility Power Outages Rise, 3 Universities Keep Emergency Backup Costs Down


ESL Emergency Power Case Study Image

Emergency Backup Case Study

May 2019

Client Profiles

Auburn University

Built in 1969, the Haley Center at Auburn University is home to the College of Education classrooms, bookstore, administrative offices, computer labs, and a dining hall. As the tallest building on campus, it has a labyrinth of corridors that regularly confuse new students. It houses the main power source and backup generator for campus-wide life-safety systems. Because of this, the system and its backup generator must be tested regularly.

“At Auburn University, options for temporarily shutting down power can be limited. Sometimes it’s hard to schedule an outage because it affects so many people due to the critical nature of the building’s services and functions. That’s why AU needs a way to load bank or test an emergency backup generator quickly and efficiently, with minimal downtime.”

– Adam Mills, Project Engineer
    Mills-Conoly Engineering
    Montgomery, Ala.

A New Hampshire college

A New Hampshire college distributes its own power to select campus areas, including its renovated, main dining commons. The institution’s engineering and utilities team recently installed a large, new backup generator at the facility. The engineers know that in order to comply with NEC 2017 700.3(F) the system must include a provision to connect a portable backup generator.

“We test our generators under load weekly – which is more frequently than code requires. Some of our generators aren’t loaded adequately, and some don’t have an MTS installed. When we bring in a portable generator or load bank, at times we have to tear apart the wiring to hard-connect the portable unit, which means we have to close the building because emergency backup power isn’t available during maintenance. It’d be a lot easier if we’d install transfer switches that allow us to switch to and from temporary equipment.”

– Laura A. Black, Electrical Engineer
    Hanover, N.H.

A leading North Carolina university

The fuel pump failed on a permanent backup generator at a public television center for a leading North Carolina university. Fixing it meant leaving the facility without backup power in the event of an emergency. Before starting the repair, engineers looked for a better way to hook up a backup generator during future emergencies and discovered this also meant installing a manual transfer switch.

“We like to spec backup-power products that are straightforward and easy for our clients to use. Equipment needs to be clearly marked and require minimal training to operate. It’s important to us because, when there’s an outage, we don’t want to leave users searching for a manual in the dark to get the power back on.”

– Addison M. Dee, PE, Electrical Project Engineer
    McKim & Creed, Inc.
    Raleigh, N.C.


Permanent or portable? The growing challenge of backup power generation at higher-education institutions

As centers of both education and community life, colleges and universities are challenged with meeting the needs of a diverse range of people and activities. From student housing and dining to classrooms and administrative offices, sports arenas and arts venues, medical facilities and research labs, assuring reliable backup power in the event of an emergency or outage is of paramount concern. The challenge becomes even greater when considering aging infrastructure, the rise of traditional and non-traditional students, and the emergence of extreme weather patterns that have led to an increase in power outages across the U.S.[1]

Guaranteeing uninterruptible backup power by installing a permanent generator and ATS, which are required for certain mission-critical applications and life-safety systems, requires costly, ongoing, special testing and maintenance. This is why many engineers specify provisions for quick connection of a load-bank testing unit and/or portable generator. The goal is to ensure standby systems are always ready and comply with regulatory testing requirements.

When making a decision about the best type of backup-power system for non-critical applications, where instantaneous power restoration isn’t required, the high cost and space requirements of a permanent generator often make portable power generation the best choice.

University challenges

  • Ensuring the safety and well-being of large numbers of academic and community users in a diverse range of operating facilities and situations
  • The expense and logistics of installing a permanent backup generator and automatic-transfer switch
  • Providing backup power to a permanent generator while down for maintenance or repair
  • Disruptions to campus life caused by outages when testing or servicing a permanent generator
  • Complying with NEC 2017 700.3(F), which requires built-in, temporary power-connection capabilities for an emergency system that relies on a single, alternate power source while the alternate source is disabled for maintenance or repair
  • Needing an electrician to switch from utility power to backup, and vice versa, to reduce the risk of back feeding or cross-connecting power sources
  • Time-consuming and inefficient rewiring to accommodate a portable load bank
  • Wet stacking and diesel-engine failure caused by repeated, insufficient loads while routinely exercising a permanent generator
  • Confusion as users rush to restore power when the lights are out


Auburn University: Ensuring backup power to the life-safety system

Mills-Conoly Engineering is a professional engineering consultant to Auburn University. All four of its engineers have degrees in electrical engineering from the university. MCE specified the installation of an ESL Power Systems TripleSwitch™ to provide an easy connection to portable backup power for the life-safety system housed in the AU Haley Center. They installed a 300kW permanent backup generator along with a TripleSwitch that enables users to connect a temporary portable backup generator safely if the permanent generator goes offline.

With CAM-lock-connectors that allow users to connect a portable generator and load bank quickly, the mechanically interlocked TripleSwitch breakers provide a failsafe way to transition from utility power to backup generator or to test a load bank – without endangering users or infrastructure. Now the university’s life-safety system complies with NEC 2017 700.3(F), which requires a means of connecting a temporary alternate power source during maintenance. The new TripleSwitch enables Haley Center technicians to load-bank test the building’s main generator without disconnecting wires inside the permanent generator.

New Hampshire college: Retrofits and new installations

At the New Hampshire college, most buildings have dedicated, permanent backup generators for emergency and standby power. The school tests all generators with load banks annually, as required. Its engineering and utilities team has firsthand experience with generators that have problems due to engine wet stacking. They’ve learned the hard way that a proper, permanent load-banking capability eliminates the dirty job of cleaning out excess soot that collects in a lightly loaded generator’s diesel-exhaust system.

The institution prefers to install permanent manual-transfer switches and its performing arts center already had an outdoor, portable-generator docking station. Engineers opted to add a TripleSwitch because it assures temporary-source-of-power code compliance. Later, while renovating the dining commons, the NEC issue came up again. This time, however, the college requested installation of a TripleSwitch from the outset and now looks forward to capably installing automatically switched, permanent generators at other campus facilities.

Manual-transfer switching made easy at a North Carolina university television transmission site

MEP engineering consultants McKim & Creed work on projects for the state of North Carolina. The firm’s principal engineers have specified the installation of ESL TripleSwitch units in a number of educational settings, including an emergency-power system for a university public-television-station site in Research Triangle Park.

McKim & Creed opted to specify ESL Power Systems products for several reasons, and product simplicity was at the top of the list. Everything is clearly marked, which makes it easy for users to attach cables for a portable generator or load bank. There are no Kirk locks or keys. The engineers also like the fact that ESL is one of the few companies actively developing new products to comply with the NEC 2017 700.3(F) ‘Temporary Source of Power’ code. Finally, ESL makes the engineers’ jobs easier by responding quickly to technical questions about product applications and solutions. For McKim & Creed, that level of responsiveness is a big plus.


More universities are discovering the advantages of temporary/portable backup power

When it comes to providing on-campus backup power, administrators are faced with a simple question: ‘How fast is necessary?’ Does an application call for immediate, automatic backup power, the kind of critical-facility solution that requires installing a permanent backup generator and ATS, with the unavoidable expenditures, maintenance, and logistics? Or is there a simpler, less-expensive solution: portable, temporary backup power restored within minutes via an ESL StormSwitch™?

For many universities, in a variety of applications, one solution that addresses a number of different challenges is to plan for portable-backup power in the future by installing a manual-transfer switch today.

We’ve installed only ESL units and we can think of no reason to install anything else.

Caleb Cofield is a project manager with Electrical Technicians, Inc., an experienced industrial electrical contractor that serves the Auburn University campus. Caleb says, “We’ve installed at least three ESL manual transfer switches at AU recently. The StormSwitch is one of the most robust – and nice-looking – devices we install. It’s very well made. It’s well organized and it’s got plenty of room for pulling in multiple, parallel lines of conduit and wiring. We’ve installed only ESL units and we can think of no reason to install anything else.”

About us

ESL Power Systems, Inc. is the global leader in providing safety-interlocked power solutions for cord-connected devices. Since its inception in the early 1990s, ESL has become an innovator in designing and manufacturing top-quality electrical products including:

  • Manual transfer switches for emergency power
  • Electrical connecting devices for refrigerated containers and RTGs
  • Ship-to-shore power connection equipment
  • Company switches for set-stage applications
  • Shipyard power distribution equipment
  • Wayside power connection applications

As a certified small business, ESL is proud to offer solutions with the lowest cost of ownership in the industry. ESL demonstrates its continuous commitment to customers by delivering sound workmanship on time and within budget.

Download TripleSwitch Product Specifications

[1] ‘Power Outages On The Rise Across The U.S.,’ Inside Energy. Jordan Wirfs-Brock, 18 Aug. 2014.

Florida Legislation Ensures Preparations for Hurricane Season

2018 Hurricane Predictions

On March 26, 2018, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed Legislation SB 7028 and HB 7099 requiring Florida state nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have an emergency backup generator capable of keeping facilities at 81 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for at least four days.

According to the new legislation, all Florida state facilities have until July 1, 2018 to comply with the new rule. As the 2018 hurricane season nears, Florida families can be reassured facilities responsible for caring for their loved ones will now be fully prepared ahead of any potential major storms.

 Emergency preparedness is a critical component to safeguarding our communities.

According to’s news release announcement of the legislation, the goal is to “ensure that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are prepared for the start of the upcoming hurricane season. Florida faces an annual risk from Mother Nature, and these rules will help keep seniors safe during a possible devastating weather event or periods with prolonged power outage.”

The 2018 hurricane season is predicted to have 12 to 15 tropical storms. Of those storms, 6 to 8 are forecasted to become hurricanes and 3 to 5 forecasted to become major hurricanes (

Emergency preparedness is a critical component to safeguarding our communities. ESL Power Systems can help with emergency readiness and recovery plans by providing the ability to connect or load test your backup power safely and quickly.

We would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or when you’re ready for a project quote, ESL is here to help. Just click the button below to contact us.

Do You Have A Contingency Plan? The Cost of NOT Being Prepared

Contingency Plan

Planning ahead for an emergency can be challenging but ESL is here to help make things easier with our line of UL 1008 Listed Emergency Power Products. Our manual transfer switches and tap boxes ensure a quick, safe generator hook-up and operation for any building and ensure time without power is minimal. There are countless things to consider when planning for the worst case scenario however; the potential for loss of power should be a top priority when trying to keep business continuity intact.

Contingency Planning

A contingency plan is a course of action designed to help an organization respond effectively to a significantly disruptive event or situation.

As businesses have become more reliant on immediate availability, the tolerance for downtime has decreased. A disaster can have devastating effects on a business because of this mind set. Having a contingency plan is a key component of business continuity, disaster recovery, and risk management.

Common Steps for a Contingency Plan Include:

  1. Perform a risk analysis. Determine what risks are most likely to occur for your business. Is your organization likely to experience natural disasters such as hurricanes or floods?
  2. Identify possible scenarios. Detail what could happen if major risks were to occur.
  3. Conduct a business impact analysis. Determine which of an organization’s functions are essential.
  4. Find ways to reduce the risk. It’s not enough to develop the plan; you need to take steps to improve preventative strategies. For example, you may realize you need special insurance, need a data back-up system or an emergency generator for power. Devise a plan for each scenario.
  5. Develop a contingency plan policy statement. This will include overview and main goals of the plan. Communicate the plan to all employees and provide personnel the proper training to improve plan effectiveness and overall organization preparedness.
  6. Test the plan. The testing should include short-term shutdowns in critical areas done in real time to ensure the plan goes as expected.
  7. Ensure plan maintenance. The plan should be a living document that is updated regularly to remain current with system improvements and organizational changes.

Preparing for a disaster requires an all-inclusive approach that covers facility equipment, power, connectivity, and testing.  This will ensure recovery is achieved within a targeted time frame. The goal is always to re-establish full function to the organization as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The Cost:

There are a wide range of disasters, natural and otherwise, that lead to recovery situations. Certain types of disaster may seem unlikely, but it is important to recognize probabilities and plan ahead.

Reduce the risk of power outages and ensure you have back up power when you need it. Installing a manual transfer switch in conjunction with a portable power generator is an economic solution to help minimize downtime during emergency power loss.

While implementing a thorough plan is no small task, the potential benefits of being proactive are significant.

To learn more about ESL and our emergency power product line, visit where you can download specifications, read recently published case studies and articles, and watch our short demo videos.