LOS ANGELES, Aug. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- August 11 marks National 811 Day and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is reminding residents and business owners to "call 811 before you dig" in the yard or at construction sites. Calling 811 or Underground Service Alert will help avoid possible injury or damage to hidden gas lines or service interruption while digging.
"During the warmer months, many homeowners begin projects which require digging on their property such as installing a mailbox, putting up a new wall or fence, building a deck, planting or removing large trees or other renovations. The digging necessary for these projects can result in hitting gas lines if they aren't located prior to the work, resulting in unnecessary and costly damage to a pipeline, possible injury or service interruption," said Jimmie Cho, vice president of field services for SoCalGas.
"Since gas lines that serve homes and businesses are located underground and out of sight, we urge customers - whether digging at their business or home - to make the quick 811 phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility owned lines marked for free," said Cho.
Last year, there were 2,150 customer and contractor "dig-ins" or preventable accidents which SoCalGas hopes will decrease this year through increased public awareness.
Before digging in their yard or place of business, residents and business owners should call 811 to reach Underground Service Alert at least two working days before the project is to begin. Underground Service Alert is free and they will contact SoCalGas and other area utilities. Each utility will then locate and mark the underground facility they own.
SoCalGas-owned pipelines typically extend from the gas main, in front or behind the home or business, to the gas meter. Customer-owned gas piping is the line that runs from the gas meter to the building or area where gas-fueled equipment or appliances are located. To have these customer-owned lines located and marked before a project, SoCalGas advises its customers to call pipe and leak locating service companies or licensed plumbing contractors who provide maintenance services.
"Once all lines are marked, customers should carefully use only hand-digging tools within two feet on each side of marked gas lines," Cho added.
No damage to gas lines is too small to report. Even a slight gouge, scrape or dent to a pipeline or coating may cause a dangerous break or leak in the future. If a customer causes what seems to be only minor damage to a pipeline or a component attached to a pipeline, they should call SoCalGas immediately at 1-800-427-2200.
About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).
SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.