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Posted on April 6, 2015

April is National Safe-Digging Month; PG&E Reminds Customers to Call 811 Before Digging

PG&E is using National Safe-Digging Month (April) to encourage California residents and businesses to continue to lead by example and always call 811 before any digging project. It is a fast, free service that ensures you know what’s below ground before you dig.

Homeowners and contractors will help protect the safety of their communities and can prevent outages with a simple call to 811.

In California, contractors are required to provide notification of their intent to dig two working days in advance. Failing to do so can result in costly fines and delayed projects.

When calling 811, customers are connected to a local center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies — such as PG&E — of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate of underground lines — gas, sewer, water, etc. — with flags, paint or both.

“We’re seeing an increase in construction projects — from backyard improvements to major development — thanks to an improving economy. Unfortunately, we’re also experiencing a dangerous uptick in the number of incidents where our gas and electric lines are damaged, which is a significant public safety risk. Whether you’re building a deck, trenching or planting a tree, calling 811 is easy, free and required by state law,” said Jesus Soto, PG&E‘s senior vice president of Gas Operations.

PG&E offers the following tips for safe digging:

  • Mark your project area in white: Identify the location where you will be digging by drawing a box around the area using white paint, white stakes, white flags, white chalk and even white baking flour.
  • Call 811 or go online for a USA (Underground Service Alert) ticket two working days before digging: Be prepared to provide the address and general location of the project, project start date and type of digging activity. This free program notifies PG&E and other utilities so that we can identify whether there are underground facilities at your project area.
  • Get marked: Utility companies will locate and mark their own pipelines, telephone, communications, water or other underground lines.
  • Dig safely: For your safety, use hand tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of our underground lines. Leave utility flags, stakes or paint marks in place until you have finished digging.

For more information about 811 and safe digging practices, visit

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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