MAYS LANDING — This April marks National Safe Digging Month and Atlantic City Electric 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 in which a call to 811 should 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. Last year, 110 of Atlantic City Electric’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:
• Always call 811 a few 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.
• See 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.
To promote safety around electric infrastructure in the communities it serves, Atlantic City Electric also reminds residents and businesses that customer-owned structures are not permitted within Atlantic City Electric’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.
See atlanticcityelectric.com for more information on Atlantic City Electric and safe digging practices, or call 800-642-3780.