MAYS LANDING – April welcome spring home improvements and Arbor Day plantings, but it is also National Safe Digging Month. Atlantic City Electric is joining New Jersey One Call – the one-call notification center for New Jersey – to remind residents, businesses and contractors that safe digging must remain a priority to prevent damage to critical underground energy services and keep communities safe.
Anyone planning to take on a spring DIY project that involves digging must call 811 at least three business days before beginning to learn the approximate location of underground utility equipment. Beyond fines and costs for repairing damage to underground utility lines, taking the right steps before digging will help avoid accidental damage to underground lines that could disrupt services to surrounding neighbors, but more importantly prevent potential injury from striking an underground electric, natural gas or other utility line.
Despite damage prevention laws that have been in place for decades, recent statistics indicate that one out of every three incidents are caused by someone who did not contact 811 before digging. A recent survey also states 45 percent of homeowners who are planning digging projects, do not plan to call 811 beforehand, putting themselves and their communities at risk.
In 2020 alone, Atlantic City Electric was called to nearly 100 incidents where damage was caused to underground electric lines due to unsafe digging practices. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground equipment can result in 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 must be one of the first steps.
Atlantic City Electric has nearly 2,900 miles of underground electric lines. Aside from Atlantic City Electric’s lines, there are underground communications cables, water and sewer lines, and other utilities. Properly locating underground lines is essential to safely completing any digging job.
Residents and businesses should take the following steps if planning a digging project this spring:
- Always call 811 at least three days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
- Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
- Confirm that all lines have been marked.
- Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
- If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
- Visit call811.com for more information.
When calling 811 at least three business days prior to digging, customers and contractors are connected to New Jersey 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.
Atlantic City Electric 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 atlanticcityelectric.com for more information on safe digging practices, or call 800-642-3780.