Those under COVID-19 stay-at-home orders may have more time for yard projects and should call 811 before digging.
Calling 811 helps prevent injuries, outages and costly repairs, keeping everyone safer.
Underground utility lines in the U.S. were hit 509,000 times in 2018, an increase of 14% from the prior year.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Piedmont Natural Gas and Duke Energy are reminding their customers and communities to call 811 before digging to protect the nation’s underground utility infrastructure, prevent potential personal injury and avoid electric and natural gas outages. The companies made a special plea to those under stay-at-home orders who may have more time for yard projects that involve digging.
“With the onset of beautiful weather, and with much of the country under stay-at-home orders, more people may be tackling yard projects that could involve digging,” said Piedmont Natural Gas Senior Vice President Sasha Weintraub. “We are asking these individuals to please remember to call 811 at least three days before they dig to prevent personal harm, service outages and costs to replace the lines.”
The national “811 Call Before You Dig” system was created so anyone who plans to dig anywhere can call to have underground utility lines clearly marked. The goal of this common effort is to prevent potential injuries, disruptions in utility services and costly repairs for the offenders.
The free service is available for all property types (homes and businesses) and it notifies utility companies, which then send crews to identify and clearly mark underground electric, natural gas, water, sewer, phone, cable TV and other utility lines.
Crews use above-ground stakes, flags or paint to mark restricted areas before a customer begins a digging project.
“While accidents will occur, most cut lines are completely preventable,” said Weintraub. “In addition to the danger and expense, many incidents close roads, cause evacuations and tie up police, fire and other emergency personnel who are needed elsewhere.”
In 2019, Piedmont and Duke Energy together reported more than 10,500 cuts to the underground lines (natural gas and electric) in their service territories. Specifically, Piedmont and Duke Energy reported approximately 3,100 damages to their underground natural gas facilities in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky; while Duke Energy reported nearly 7,500 damages to its underground electric network in all its service territories.
In late 2019, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) issued a report stating that 509,000 excavation-related damages to underground facilities occurred nationwide in 2018, compared to the 2017 estimate of 439,000 damages. The CGA is a national organization formed in 2000 to unify all 50 states in a shared effort to prevent damage to underground utilities and infrastructure.
For more information about the national system and about the 811 office in your state, visit call811.com.
To see a video that shows how to use 811, click here. For additional information, see our story on illumination: Before you dig, call 811. It’s free.
Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, is an energy services company whose principal business is the distribution of natural gas to more than 1 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Piedmont is routinely recognized by J.D. Power for excellent customer satisfaction, and has been named by Cogent Reports as one of the most trusted utility brands in the U.S.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.
Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Media contact: Jennifer Sharpe