LOS ANGELES, April 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of National Safe Digging Month, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Anaheim Fire & Rescue officials today raised a 30-foot-tall shovel at Angels Stadium of Anaheim to promote safe digging practices that can help prevent serious injuries and service outages. Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Jose Moreno and Angels Baseball Chairman Dennis Kuhl joined first responders at the event to help raise awareness about the importance of calling 811 prior to the start of any excavation project. When residents or contractors dial 811 before any project that involves digging, utility companies will mark the locations of underground lines to prevent them from being hit. Photos from today's event are available here.
An underground utility line is accidentally damaged once every nine minutes nationwide. Those accidents can lead to significant safety hazards or result in costly repair bills for homeowners. Across SoCalGas' service territory, about 60 percent of pipeline damage due to digging is caused by homeowners, contractors, and excavators who did not call 811 before digging.
"Last year, SoCalGas recorded close to 3,000 cases of damage to underground infrastructure caused by customers who did not call 811 prior to digging, but we know that number can be drastically reduced by practicing safe digging," said Rodger Schwecke, SoCalGas senior vice president of gas transmission, storage, and engineering. "Data shows that when customers call 811 before digging, the likelihood of hitting a utility line is decreased by 99 percent."
"Raising the community's awareness of public safety issues, like practicing safe digging, is an important part of our job as first responders," said Deputy Chief Patrick Russell, Anaheim Fire & Rescue. "We want to remind residents that every digging project – no matter how large or small – warrants a call to 811. Striking an underground utility line can result in serious injury and disrupt vital services, like natural gas, water, or electric service, to an entire neighborhood or community."
"National Safe Digging Month reminds all of us to call 811 before digging. Failure to do so can lead to hazardous consequences," said Anaheim's Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Jose Moreno. "Working together, we can help make the City of Anaheim an even safer place."
Throughout the month of April, SoCalGas is partnering with Angels Baseball to remind fans to contact 811 before digging in the yard or on the job. In addition to the giant shovel, the partnership includes radio spots on Angels Radio AM830 and in-stadium marketing, featuring digital ads and video.
SoCalGas encourages customers to take the following steps when planning any digging project this spring:
- Mark out your proposed work area in white (paint, chalk, flour, flags, etc.).
- Call 811 or submit an online location request to Underground Service Alert at least two working days prior to when you'll start digging.
- Wait to hear from us. We'll either come mark our natural gas lines, indicating pipe material and diameter, or let you know that the area is clear.
- Remember that SoCalGas' uses yellow paint to mark its lines.
- If you need to dig within 24 inches of a marked utility line, use only hand tools to carefully expose the exact locations of the line before using any power excavation equipment in the area.
- Report any pipe damage – no matter how big or how small – by calling us immediately at 1-800-427-2200.
811 is the national phone number, designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), that connects professionals and homeowners who plan to dig with a local call center. The call center collects information about the planned dig site and communicates with the appropriate utility companies, which then send professional utility locating technicians to identify and mark the approximate location of lines. Once lines have been marked, the caller may dig safely around the marks.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States, providing clean, safe, affordable and reliable natural gas service to 21.7 million customers in Central and Southern California. Its service territory spans 22,000 square miles from Fresno to the Mexican border, reaching more than 550 communities through 5.9 million meters and 101,000 miles of pipeline. More than 90 percent of Southern California single-family home residents use natural gas for home heat and hot water. In addition, natural gas plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.
SoCalGas has served communities in California for 150 years and is committed to being a leader in the region's clean energy future. The company is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas, a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative fuel created by capturing and conditioning greenhouse gas emissions from farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy ( NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas), and Facebook.
Anaheim is a full-service city supporting more than 358,000 residents, 20,000 businesses and 25 million annual visitors. The city provides public safety through the Anaheim Police Department and Anaheim Fire & Rescue, water and power service through Anaheim Public Utilities, parks, community centers, family services and libraries through Anaheim Community Services, neighborhood and transportation improvements through Anaheim Public Works and community revitalization through Community & Economic Development. Anaheim is a modern, diverse city with a proud history dating back to its 1857 founding. Anaheim is known worldwide as the home of the Disneyland Resort, including Walt Disney's original Disneyland Park, as well as Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Angels Baseball, Honda Center and the Anaheim Ducks, and the Anaheim Convention Center, the largest on the West Coast. Anaheim's thriving visitor industry and business community help support the city's neighborhoods and make Anaheim a great place to live, work and play. For more, please see www.anaheim.net.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Company