It is only through education that one learns that the way they have been doing things is completely incorrect.
I am deeply involved with the education of electrical contractors and inspectors here in NC. Over the past years of working with the Department of Insurance, the ones charged with qualifying electrical inspectors in NC, and the NC Licensing Board I have witnessed shear ignorance of the rules outlined by the NEC. I once was stunned by the lack of knowledge but have become accustom to seeing someone that lacks knowledge.
I have dedicated my life to the continuing education of electrical contractors and inspectors as well as upcoming students in the electrical field. It is my desire to see everyone on the same page when dealing with electrical safety and the proper installation of electrical systems. I am myself a student of the electrical trade and continually learn things that I thought were safe but find out they are not.
One of my favorite statements is, “just because it works in no way means that it is done in a safe and compliant manner.”
It was in the 2002 code cycle that the requirements for portable generators was added to 702 which required them to be grounded (connected to earth) if connected to the premises wiring system, but the language in 250.34 and the FPN has gone unchanged from the 1999 code cycle.
As long as the stand-alone generator is being used without a connection to the premises wiring no earth connection is required. Once the stand-alone system is connected to the premises wiring then a connection to earth is required either as a separately derived or a non-separately derived system. At any rate the bonding must be done at one place or the other not at both places.
UL has stepped forward with their Standards for the manufacturing of stand-alone generators and now require that ALL 15, 20 and 30 receptacles on these generators be protected by GFCI protection.
The NEC also has come forward with this requirement to go into effect on January 1, 2011 590.6(A)(3) Receptacles on 15-kW or less Portable Generators. All 125-volt and 125/250-volt, single-phase, 15-, 20-, and 30-ampere receptacle outlets that are a part of a 15-kW or smaller portable generator shall have listed ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.
There is a big difference in temporary power and optional standby power. These stand-alone generators are designed as temporary power and if used as optional standby power must follow the rules outlined in 702. The grounding requirements outlined in the note following 250.34(C) states that should a portable generator be used as optional standby power it must be connected to earth and again in 702.
One thing to keep in mind is that portable generators include many different types of generators and is not limited to the stand-alone generator.
You have done Great work JW, and that is one reason that Complying to Code and Insurance is so expensive.
Keep up the Good Work...