CHARLOTTE, N.C. – National Safe Digging Day (also known as 811 Day) is observed Aug. 11, and Piedmont Natural Gas and Duke Energy are reminding professional excavators and do-it-yourselfers of the importance of calling 811 before digging to protect the nation’s underground utility infrastructure, prevent potential injury and avoid electric and natural gas outages.
“This summer and fall, many homeowners and contractors will work on yard and landscaping projects that require digging or excavating,” said Sasha Weintraub, Piedmont Natural Gas senior vice president and president. “Before you pick up the shovel or power up excavation equipment, dial 811 at least three business days before digging to help keep yourself and our communities safe and to prevent costly and potentially dangerous damage to underground utility lines.”
The national “811 Call Before You Dig” system was created so anyone who plans to dig can have underground utility lines clearly marked by making a free call. Contractors, homeowners, business owners and anyone preparing for a digging project should call 811 at least three business days before digging begins. The local utilities will then send a crew to mark underground lines in the area (electric, natural gas, water, sewer, phone, cable TV and others) with stakes, flags or paint.
From January to June 2023, Piedmont and Duke Energy reported damage to nearly 4,900 natural gas and electric lines in their service territories (North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana).
More specifically, Piedmont and Duke Energy reported about 1,600 damages to underground natural gas facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. Duke Energy reported about 3,300 damages to its underground electric network in all its service territories. In 2022, Piedmont and Duke Energy reported more than 10,000 damages to natural gas and electric lines.
“We are committed to the safe operation of our underground infrastructure and the safety of our customers, employees and communities,” Weintraub added. “While accidents do happen, most damaged lines can be prevented with a free call to 811.”
For additional information about 811, visit Call 811 Before You Dig. To contact the 811 center in your state, dial 811 or visit call811.com.