Source: Steiner Electric Company
Source: Steiner Electric Company

Quick connects are permanent tap boxes that are installed on the exterior of buildings in order to "plug in" mobile power generators. The receptacles are color-coded to match the generator's cables[1] .

When the generator is actively tapped in, the building's electrical system can utilize the generator's power.

Issues Addressed

Without a quick connect box, generators have to be hard-wired into the buildings main electrical load bank. This exposes a number of problems.

Public Safety

Hard-wiring (especially high-voltages) is extremely dangerous. Mix this with the possibility of standing water and/or debris and there is a high possibility of injury to the installers.

Source: Tribune Broadcasting Company
Hard-wiring also leaves exposed live copper at the point of connection. By code, these connections must be covered, but in reality, they are often left exposed. This leaves a serious threat to laypeople working within the building who may not be aware of the danger.

Another concern is the jumble of cables that will snake from the generator (parked at the curb) to the building. Unfortunately, when a building is designed, thought is rarely put into the possibility of a generator and where it may need access to the electrical main. This may cause the cables to become a serious tripping hazard to pedestrians. Because a quick connect box is designed with this thought in mind, it can be located to minimize risk.
Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images


Hard-wiring a generator may take several hours of precious time following a disaster. Many facilities, such as food storage, blood storage, etc. are heavily affected by this down time. The addition of a quick connect box will cut the installation time down to just minutes.

Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR)

The SIRR makes the following recommendation:
  • City-sponsored legislation mandating quick connects for food retailers


Quick connects do add an otherwise voluntary and rarely used option at an upfront cost that some clients may not want to pay for, however, in the event of a prolonged power outage, they would be indispensable. A new building would be quite easy to integrate a quick connect box into the design, whereas a retrofit may require extensive work if the electrical service is not easily accessible.


Quick connects would be most useful for large office buildings, emergency services facilities, and any time-sensitive operation (such as food).

Related Reports


  1. ^ "Generator Quick Connection."Http://www.eaton.com/Eaton/ProductsServices/Electrical/ProductsandServices/ElectricalDistribution/Switchboards/QuickConnect/index.htm#tabs-2. Eaton, n.d. Web.