SAN FRANCISCO, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Every six minutes in America, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first making the free call to 8-1-1. Ahead of the 2014 construction season, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reminds California homeowners and contractors to make a free call to 8-1-1 at least two business days before any digging project. The free service helps get all underground utility lines properly marked for projects big and small.
"Contacting a Regional Notification Center is a state requirement, not an option," said Contractor State License Board (CSLB) Registrar of Contractors, Steve Sands. "We encourage consumers as well as our 300,000 contractors to always call 8-1-1 before beginning any type of digging project to avoid safety and financial risks."
April is National Safe Digging Month and serves as a reminder that safe digging prevents serious injuries, repair costs and inconvenient outages.
In almost every case, these accidents can be avoided with a simple call. Even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists."We're really stepping up our damage prevention efforts this year," said Nick Stavropoulos, Executive Vice President of Gas Operations at PG&E. "In 2013 alone, there more than 2,000 incidents of damages to our gas and electric lines as a result of unsafe digging practices. Calling 8-1-1 before you dig shows a commitment to safety and your community." Whether the project is commercial construction with heavy excavating equipment, a residential fence installation or even a backyard spring planting project, calling 8-1-1 two business days prior to digging enhances public safety. Callers are connected to a local call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies—such as PG&E— of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the locations of underground lines. Once lines have been accurately marked, hand digging can begin around marked lines.