TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Florida is several weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, and residents are adhering to state and county safer-at-home guidance. With more time on their hands, Floridians are spending time in their yards working on planting and other outdoor projects. And they need to remember to call 811 two business days before they start digging.
Throughout April, Sunshine 811, Peoples Gas and other utilities are promoting National Safe Digging Month. The campaign is designed to remind Florida’s residents of the network of wires, cables and pipelines located underground, and often closer to the surface than you might think. Striking one of these underground utility lines while digging could result in loss of natural gas, electric, water or communications and cable services, injure you or others, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.
“Last year, more than 2,500 of our customers saw their natural gas service impacted by damage to pipelines during excavation or DIY projects,” said Luke Buzard, vice president of Pipeline Safety and Regulatory Affairs for Peoples Gas. “Nearly 150 homeowners across the state damaged their own service lines during projects around their yards, and many of those incidents could have been avoided by calling 811 and following safe digging practices.”
One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for Sunshine 811 to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Here are some tips to remember:
- Call at least two full business days before digging, to give utility companies enough time to properly mark their lines. When you call 811, you will be asked for the location and description of your digging project.
- Doing a small project at single address location? Sunshine 811 has an easy online entry system. Visit sunshine811.com and click on Single Address Ticket.
- Sunshine 811 notifies affected utility companies, who then send a professional locator to mark the approximate location of underground equipment for free.
- Check the Sunshine 811 Positive Response link at sunshine811.com and, once all utilities have responded, roll up those sleeves and dig carefully within 24 inches of any marks in your project area.
- Even if you are not digging, remember to leave any markers – paint or flags – in place. They are a sign of work that may be coming soon to your area by a utility or contractor.
Peoples Gas System, Florida’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serves more than 400,000 customers across Florida. Peoples Gas is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.