READING, Pa., April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With homeowners and businesses tackling spring and summer projects, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) reminds its Pennsylvania utility customers to always dial 8-1-1 before digging to avoid hitting underground electrical cables and other utility installations.
April marks the eighth annual National Safe Digging Month. Calling 8-1-1 helps FirstEnergy's utility companies provide reliable electric service and protects homeowners and contractors from potential injuries or costly repair bills from digging into utility lines.
Homeowners and contractors should contact 8-1-1 three days before beginning a job to be connected to the Pennsylvania One Call Center, which then will notify the appropriate FirstEnergy utility company and other utilities about the work being planned. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.
"As April marks the traditional start of digging season, we strongly encourage FirstEnergy utility customers to dial 8-1-1 before they begin digging," said Linda Moss, president, Pennsylvania Operations, FirstEnergy. "By contacting Pennsylvania 8-1-1 to have underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and contractors are making smart decisions that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected."
According to Pennsylvania One Call, every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone started to dig without first dialing 8-1-1. Every digging project – even something as simple as installing a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree – warrants a call to Pennsylvania 8-1-1 before the first shovelful of dirt is turned. Waiting to start a project until lines are located and marked makes good sense, because striking a single line can lead to injury, cause outages, and result in costly repairs or fines.
The depth of utility lines can vary for many reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. Pennsylvania 8-1-1 encourages area residents to visit www.pa811.org or www.pa1call.org for more information about digging safely.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.