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Last year, across PG&E's service area there were 1,799 dig-ins by contractors and the public, compared to 1,536 in 2012
SAN FRANCISCO: Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is asking customers to make a call to 811 prior to any street excavations, to stop further accidental gas dig-ins.
Last year, contractors and homeowners in PG&E's service area were responsible for more accidental pipeline hits — where natural gas pipelines are struck during excavation projects – than in previous years. 2013 saw an increase of 263 cases of dig-ins by contractors and the general public in the PG&E service area, when compared with the previous year.
California State law requires that all excavation jobs are marked before work begins, including smaller tasks such as planting a tree or installing a new mailbox.
Every three minutes nationwide, an underground utility line is damaged during a digging project. These accidents can happen in a residential backyard, not just on heavy construction projects.
"We're seeing an increase in construction projects – from backyard improvements to major development. Unfortunately, we're also experiencing a dangerous uptick in the number of incidents where our gas and electric lines are damaged, which is a significant public safety risk," said Jesus Soto Jr., SVP of Engineering, Construction and Operations at PG&E.
"Whether you're building a deck, trenching or planting a tree, calling the 811 is easy, free and required by state law," he added.
Striking a utility line can lead to injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient service outages. And for that reason every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to the free phone number.
THE 811 SERVICE
The 811 number connects homeowners and contractors to Underground Service Alert (USA). This free service notifies utility companies about any type of excavation project. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with guide markers such as flags, spray paint or both.
PG&E SAFETY TIPS
N.B. If there is any damage to PG&E electric wires or gas pipelines, or if there is a possible gas leak move to a safe location, call 911, call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000
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