Missing the mark? Call 811 before you dig

July 24, 2013

LOUISVILLE – Did you know the odds of successfully completing excavation work in the United States without causing damage to underground utility pipes and equipment increases 99 percent if consumers have the lines properly marked in advance?

Whether it’s a major construction project or yard work at home, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company tell consumers to call Kentucky 811 to prevent digging into and damaging underground utilities, otherwise known as a third-party dig-in.

Kentucky law requires excavators to contact operators of underground utilities before performing any excavation work.

Kentucky 811 is a free statewide computer-operated communication system. When consumers call 811 to submit a “locate request,” this request is sent to each member company that provides natural gas, electric, telephone, cable and water service in the requested area. Each company will then either mark its underground lines or notify the individual if there are no underground lines in the area.

In 2012, the 811 call center took nearly 130,000 requests for LG&E gas and electric lines and KU electric lines.

LG&E and KU actively educate excavators and the general public about the importance of calling 811 because this service protects public safety and prevents costly damages.

For example, LG&E Gas Regulatory Services Team Leader Danny Martin has spent the last nine years investigating dig-in damages and working closely with excavators and the general public about the importance of 811 to prevent damages to LG&E gas lines.

In turn, damage to LG&E gas lines has reduced by 50 percent and the company’s annual cost of repairing gas line damages caused by third-party dig-ins has reduced 66 percent since 2003.

Follow these four important safe-digging steps:

1. Call 811 at least two business days in advance.

2. Wait the required amount of time.

3. Respect the marks that outline the underground utility lines and equipment.

4. Dig with care.

All LG&E and many KU service territory locations are included under the 811 call center. KU customers may visit KU’s Call Before You Dig web page or call 1-800-981-0600 to see if you need to contact KU or Kentucky 811 to have your underground electric lines marked.