SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This Sunday (8/11) is National Safe Digging Day, serving as a reminder to all PG&E customers and contractors to call 811 a minimum of two business days prior to starting any digging project, no matter how large or small. 811 is a free service, and utility workers will mark the location of any underground lines, helping individuals to dig safely and avoid potential repair costs and even personal injury.
Customers and contractors who prefer to submit an 811 request online can visit http://811express.com/ for a single ticket with an individual address.
“The safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility and that includes safe digging any time of year,” said Mel Christopher, PG&E’s vice president for Gas Operations.
“Guessing or assuming the location of an underground gas line is dangerous, and the consequences of hitting the unmarked line can be serious,” he added. “No digging project is too small. Whether you’re a contractor building a high-rise building or a homeowner installing a fence or conducting landscaping or renovation, calling 811 can prevent damages and injury and even save a life.”
A call to 811 is the best safeguard and the first line of defense to preventing strikes on underground utility lines. Callers are connected to their local 811 center that notifies local utilities of their intent to dig. Those utility operators send specially trained and qualified technicians to the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint.
In 2018, there were over 1,700 third-party dig-ins on PG&E’s underground infrastructure across Northern and Central California.
- Of the over 1,700 dig-ins, nearly half resulted from not using 811 to have gas and electric lines marked in advance.
- Of the third-party (customers or construction crews) dig-ins to PG&E’s lines in 2018, residential dig-ins accounted for 22 percent.
- In 86 percent of residential dig-ins, 811 was not called in advance.
PG&E safe digging tips
- Mark project area in white: Identify the digging location by drawing a box around the area using white paint, white stakes, white flags, white chalk or even white baking flour.
- Call 811 or submit an online request a minimum of two working days before digging: Be prepared to provide the address and general location of the project, project start date and type of digging activity. PG&E and other utilities will identify underground facilities in the area for free. Requests can be submitted a maximum of 14 days prior to the start of the project.
- Dig safely: Use hand tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of underground lines. Leave utility flags, stakes or paint marks in place until the project is finished. Backfill and compact the soil.
- Be aware of signs of a natural gas leak: Smell for a “rotten egg” odor, listen for hissing, whistling or roaring sounds and look for dirt spraying into the air, bubbling in a pond or creek and dead/dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.