For Immediate Release
202-872-2680 (media hotline)
Calling 811 before starting spring projects must be the first steps customers make before starting any digging projects.
Link to B-Roll footage: Safe Digging Video
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April XX, 2023) — April is National Safe Digging Month and Pepco wants to make sure customers stay safe before starting spring projects. That's why Pepco is joining Miss Utility, the one-call notification center for Maryland and the District of Columbia, to remind residents, businesses and contractors that safe digging must remain a priority to prevent damage to critical underground energy services and prevent injuries.
Not knowing what's below can be dangerous. Striking an electric or utility line can lead to serious injuries, unwanted disruptions and added costs for fines and repairs. In 2022, Pepco responded to 155 incidents related to equipment damage caused by unsafe digging practices. That's why anyone planning to take on a commercial or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project this spring that involves digging, no matter the size, must call 811.
Pepco has 7,207 miles of underground electric lines. Besides Pepco equipment, there are numerous water and sewer lines, communication cables and other utilities' equipment. When calling 811, customers and contractors are connected to Miss Utility that will take the caller's information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas. Here's a breakdown of what the colors indicate:
A recent survey by The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, shows the importance of calling 811. According to the survey, 74 percent of homeowners plan to dig on their property this year. Of those planning projects, more than 49.3 million will put themselves and their communities at risk by not contacting 811 before digging.
To avoid injury and disruptions, residents and businesses should remember these six tips before starting any project:
To promote safety around electric infrastructure in the communities it serves, Pepco also reminds residents and businesses that customer-owned structures are not permitted within Pepco's easements near overhead equipment. Customers must contact their local municipality to obtain the necessary permits prior to any construction near company-owned transmission or distribution lines.
Pepco joins the Exelon family of companies, the other 1,700 Common Ground Alliance members, the U.S. Department of Transportation and governors across the country in marking April as National Safe Digging Month to bring extra attention to the issue of underground utility line safety and reduce the risk of unnecessary infrastructure damage.
To learn more about safe digging practices visit pepco.com/safety or call 202-833-7500.
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