NEWARK, N.J., April 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- April is National Safe Digging Month and Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G), New Jersey's largest utility, reminds customers, contractors and excavators to call 811 to request a mark-out before digging to avoid hitting underground pipelines, conduits, wires and cables. The service is free, and absolutely critical to avoiding injuries and disruptions to vital utility services.
Nationwide, every six minutes, someone damages an underground utility line when digging without first calling 811, according to the Common Ground Alliance, the national association that promotes safe digging practices. In 2015, PSE&G responded to more than 360,000 utility mark-out requests called into the New Jersey 811 call center. Despite the high number of mark-out requests, almost 30 percent of damages to PSE&G facilities were the result of people digging without first calling 811.
PSE&G has more than 8,200 circuit miles of underground electric lines, and about 35,000 miles of buried natural gas distribution lines. Striking an underground electric or natural gas pipe can cause serious injury and service interruptions, resulting in repair costs and fines. Every digging project, even a small project like planting a tree or building a deck with hand tools, requires a call to 811.
When you call 811, you are automatically connected to the New Jersey one-call center, which collects information about your digging project. The one-call center then provides the information to the utility companies, who send representatives to mark the locations of underground lines in the immediate vicinity of the planned work location with flags, paint or both. Once lines have been properly marked and your request becomes valid, you are free to carefully dig around the marked areas.
In New Jersey, the marks are valid for 45 business days. The call must be made whether you are hiring a professional or planning to do the job yourself.
Important information to consider:
- Call 811 at least three full business days before each job to have underground pipes, wires and equipment located. Utility workers will respond and place markers where utility lines are buried, free of charge.
- If you hired a contractor, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Do not allow work to begin if the lines are not marked.
- Property owners must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within two feet of marked lines.
- Various colors are used when marking lines. To learn what each color represents and for more information go to www.pseg.com/call811.
If you accidentally damage gas piping or smell gas when excavating, call 911 immediately from a safe area. Call before you dig is more than a good idea — it's the law.
Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is New Jersey's oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, serving nearly three-quarters of the state's population. PSE&G is the winner of the ReliabilityOne Award for superior electric system reliability. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) (NYSE: PEG), a diversified energy company.
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SOURCE Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G)