BGE joins the Exelon family of utilities in recognizing National Call Before You Dig Day and is a member of the Common Ground Alliance to share best practices to promote safe excavation and decrease instances of damage to underground lines. The company also provides customers and local contractors with important information about safety around overhead and underground utility lines through mailings, customer newsletters, social media and print advertising.To learn more, visit www.bge.com/811. To access training videos and other free materials, visit BGE's Damage Prevention and Safety Training site. BGE , founded in 1816 as the nation's first gas utility, is Maryland's largest natural gas and electric utility. Headquartered in Baltimore, BGE delivers power to more than 1.25 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company's approximately 3,200 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. The company also has an estimated annual economic impact of $5 billion of output in its service area, supporting more than 9,500 local jobs and producing $923 million in labor income. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter , YouTube and Flickr .
Today, 8/11, serves as a natural reminder for all customers and contractors to call 811 to have utility-owned underground lines marked before digging. Nationwide, every six minutes someone damages an underground utility line because of digging without first calling 811, according to the Common Ground Alliance, the national association that promotes the 811 phone number and safe digging practices. Incidents of damage to BGE's natural gas system have been reduced by 30 percent since 2006. BGE is among the leading natural gas utilities for reduced damages. Striking an underground electric or natural gas line can cause serious injury, damages and service interruptions. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects where a call to 811 should be one of the first steps. Customers and contractors should call 811 before clearing blocked sewer lines to determine if any utility lines are nearby as well. BGE has nearly 16,000 circuit miles of underground electric lines--more than 60 percent of the electric distribution system. Additionally, there are nearly 14,000 miles of BGE natural gas distribution and service lines throughout central Maryland. Aside from BGE's lines, there are underground communications cables, water and sewer lines, and other utilities. When calling 811, customers and contractors are connected to Miss Utility, the local one-call center, which notifies BGE and other utilities of the intent to dig at a location. The utilities' professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. Once lines are located, customers and contractors doing work also must understand the markings and look for evidence of unmarked lines, such as water and sewer lines on private property. Sewer clean-outs and water valve covers are examples of equipment that can indicate the presence of underground lines. Once lines are marked, customers and contractors must proceed carefully. Hand dig with caution and never use mechanized excavation equipment within 18 inches of marked utilities.