JACKSON, Mich., Aug. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With damages up nearly 20 percent in 2015, Consumers Energy reminds do-it-yourself homeowners that August 11 (8-11) should provide an important reminder to call MISS DIG at 8-1-1 to have underground utilities marked at no cost before digging.
"It's important to share this critical safety message because we know when homeowners and contractors contact MISS DIG before digging and wait three business days for utilities to be located, there is less than a 1 percent chance of hitting one of those buried lines," said Mary Palkovich, vice president of energy delivery for Consumers Energy.
A total of 147 homeowner damages to underground natural gas and electric lines have been reported through this July, a 17 percent increase over a total of 126 damages through July 2014. Some utilities may be buried just a few inches below ground and can easily be hit when using only a shovel for simple gardening projects like planting small shrubs and even flowers.
"Sixty-nine percent of homeowner damages to underground utilities occur because no contact was made with MISS DIG first. Contacting MISS DIG at 8-1-1 or online through elocate.missdig.org is the most important step in any digging project," Palkovich said. Those who fail to follow safe digging practices can cause injury to themselves and others, as well as property and utility damages.
Each weekend in 2015 has brought several damages to underground utilities by homeowners. Areas where damages have been heaviest include the metro Detroit area, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Jackson.
Practicing these five safe digging steps help prevent unintentional dig-ins to gas, electric, cable, water, sewer and fiber optic lines.
- Plan your job.
- Contact MISS DIG at 8-1-1 or elocate.missdig.org to place a locate request.
- Wait three business days, then check Positive Response at response.missdig.org to obtain a list of utilities on your job site to be sure all utilities have been marked or cleared. Then, dig safely.
- If excavating using power equipment within 48 inches of a marked area, you must first hand-expose the lines.
- If you contact or damage a utility line, contact the utility owner immediately. If the damage results in a dangerous situation, call 9-1-1.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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SOURCE Consumers Energy