Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that April 2012 marks the fifth National Safe Digging Month, and reminds all customers to always call 811, the Miss Utility hotline, prior to beginning any digging project in order to have underground utilities properly marked. Failure to call before digging increases the chance of striking an underground facility, which can cause injuries, costly equipment damage and lengthy service interruptions.
“At BGE, the core of our commitment to reliable service is centered around safety and as April marks the traditional start of digging season, we are using this month to strongly encourage all customers, homeowners and professionals, to call 811 before they begin any digging project,” said Robert D. Biagiotti, vice president of gas distribution, BGE. “A utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide, and one-third of these incidents are caused by failure of the professional excavator or homeowner to call 811 before beginning their digging project. By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, customers are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected.”
When customers call 811 they are connected to Miss Utility, the local one-call center which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. Below are the color codes for each type of underground utility:
YellowGas, Oil or Steam
OrangeCommunications (Telephone or CATV)
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of 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.
In addition to injuries, damage to BGE’s underground facilities can result in thousands of dollars in emergency repairs and loss of service to customers. While BGE works very closely with professional excavators to ensure proper procedures are followed prior to excavation, it can be very challenging to convey to residential customers the importance of calling 811 before the start of a digging project. If a homeowner plans to use machinery to dig on their property, they are required by law to contact Miss Utility prior to beginning to dig. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin after a call to 811 and the lines have been appropriately marked. Making the call to Miss Utility also provides the homeowner an opportunity to design, or redesign, a project to stay as far away as possible from any underground lines. Miss Utility can also be reached by calling 1-800-257-7777 or online here.
National Safe Digging Month, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, is formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and has traditionally earned the support from nearly every state governor across the country. Throughout April, BGE and Miss Utility will be promoting National Safe Digging Month through statewide outreach and local events. For more information, visit here.
BGE, www.bge.com, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in Central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,400 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider with approximately $33 billion in annual revenues.