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  • Temporary Power Distribution - 4 Details to Consider when Renting a Generator

    May 16, 2018

    If you need temporary power or an auxiliary power source for your job site or business, there are several details to consider before renting a power generator. The main topic of discussion here is one that is often overlooked: power distribution - determining the best method to deliver power to the points where it is needed.

    The most effective solution to your power distribution needs is often determined through the assistance of your local Power Rental Representative, but we’ll explain some of the main considerations along with a few available options to help you prepare.

    1. Where will the generator be located and what is the distance from the preferred generator staging location to the electrical connection point? Answering this question can help determine the necessary power cable lengths for your temporary power need.

    2. What is the voltage for the electrical loads to be powered? Towable rental generators are often voltage-selectable, meaning they are equipped with a voltage selector switch to provide power to the most common voltage applications. In some situations, a transformer may also be required to supply the necessary voltage. Here are a few examples where a transformer might be needed:

    • When two different voltages are required from one rental generator, such as 208 volts and 480 volts.
    • If a voltage higher than 480 volts is required, such as 2,100 volts, 4,160 volts, or 13,200 volts. This would typically require a “step-up” transformer to supply these higher voltages since most rental generators in the U.S. are limited to an output of 480 volts.
    • On occasion, an existing transformer onsite may need to be taken offline, which might require a temporary transformer to supply the proper voltage to the downstream loads.

    3. Where/what is the electrical connection point to distribute the power?

    • If you are connecting to a building or facility with a pre-installed cam-lok connection cabinet, also referred to as a docking station or a quick-connect panel, the cable connections should be fairly simple; the power cables will plug directly from the generator to the connection cabinet using cam-lok plug/receptacle connections.
    • If you are connecting to a building or facility with no predetermined method to connect a temporary generator, this often requires a licensed electrician to temporarily connect the generator power cables using bare-ended cables at an electrical connection point such as the load-side lugs on the building’s main breaker (as an example).
    • If you need to run power to a single distribution point for a job site or event, a Spider Box might be a good solution. Spider Boxes provide multiple power receptacles built into a single panel, often with a combination of twist-lok receptacles and 120 volt duplex receptacles.

     4. Does your job site or event require multiple points of power distribution?

    There are many ways to provide the necessary power to the proper areas. Here are two common options:

    • Distribution Panels provide the capacity for further power distribution into multiple areas, with an assortment of options to serve power to the connection points.
    • Quad Strings are essentially power cables with duplex receptacle boxes spaced at specific lengths along the cable, providing 120 volt distribution to multiple areas.

    If you have any questions about power distribution for your temporary power need, one of our Power Rental Representatives can help design a power distribution plan to fit your power needs and area layout. We provide comprehensive power rental solutions for any event, including generators from 6kW to your maximum power requirement, with cable and distribution equipment to deliver power precisely where you need it.


    Clifford Power Systems, Inc. is a privately held corporation with a core focus on generator service and sales. This includes the sale of new equipment; emergency service and preventative maintenance plans for all makes and models; parts sales; rental of generators, cable, distribution, and lighting. Clifford Power Systems, Inc. provides services from ten office locations in a five-state region, consisting of Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas.


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