April is National Safe Digging Month, recognizing the importance of having underground utility lines marked prior to digging, excavating.
Calling 811 prevents injuries, outages, costly repairs – keeping everyone safer.
Utilities’ underground lines were hit nearly 9,800 times in 2021 – a 68% increase over prior year.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In recognition of National Safe Digging Month, 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.
“Now that spring has arrived, many people may be working on outdoor projects that could involve digging,” said Brian Weisker, Duke Energy senior vice president and chief operations officer, natural gas. “We ask anyone who might be starting a project in their yard to please remember to make a free call to 811 at least three days before they dig to help prevent personal harm, service outages and costs to replace damaged lines.
“In addition to the danger and expense of damaged utilities, many incidents lead to road closures and evacuations, and they can tie up police, fire and other emergency resources who are needed elsewhere,” Weisker said.
The national “811 Call Before You Dig” system is a free service and was created so anyone who plans to dig can call to have underground utility lines clearly marked. Contractors, homeowners, business owners and anyone preparing for an excavation project should call 811 at least three business days before digging begins. The local utilities will 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.
In 2021, Piedmont and Duke Energy together reported almost 9,800 cuts to underground lines (natural gas and electric) in their service territories. Specifically, Piedmont and Duke Energy reported nearly 3,400 damages to their underground natural gas facilities in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky, while Duke Energy reported more than 6,300 damages to its underground electric network in all its service territories.
In late 2021, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a national organization helping to prevent damage to underground infrastructure and utilities, issued a report stating that an estimated 468,000 excavation-related damages to underground facilities occurred nationwide in 2020, compared to the 2019 estimate of 532,000 damages. Although damages decreased by 12% over 2019, the data continues to highlight the failure to call 811 as the single largest individual root cause, contributing to 32% of damages.
For a video that shows how to use 811, click here. For additional information about 811, visit Call 811 Before You Dig or see our story on illumination: Call 811 before you start digging. To get in touch with the 811 center in your state, dial 811 or visit call811.com.
Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, distributes natural gas to more than 1.1 million residential, commercial, industrial and power generation customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. 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. More information: piedmontng.com. Follow Piedmont Natural Gas: Twitter, Facebook.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities. The company has goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction from electric generation and net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050 from its electric and natural gas businesses, including Scopes 1, 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.