For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2019) – This April marks National Safe Digging Month and Pepco reminds all customers and contractors to call 811 a few days before digging to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.
A national survey conducted in March by the Common Ground Alliance, the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, revealed that 42 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year for DIY projects don't plan on calling 811 and will put themselves and their communities at risk.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water, and sewer lines are damaged. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Landscaping, planting trees and shrubs, installing a fence or mailbox, and building a deck, pond or patio, are all examples of digging projects where a call to 811 should be one of the first steps.
Pepco has nearly 7,400 miles of underground electric lines. Aside from Pepco's lines, there are underground communications cables, water and sewer lines, and other utilities. Last year, 153 of Pepco's underground electric lines were struck due to unsafe digging practices, which could have been avoided by calling 811. Properly locating underground lines is essential to safely completing any digging job.
Residents and businesses should take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:
When calling 811 at least two business days prior to digging, customers and contractors are connected to District One Call 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.
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.
Visit pepco.com for more information on safe digging practices, or call 202-833-7500.
To learn more, readers are encouraged to visit The Source, Pepco's online news room. Find additional information about Pepco by visiting pepco.com. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/pepcoconnect and on Twitter at twitter.com/pepcoconnect. Our mobile app is available at pepco.com/mobileapp.