Xcel Energy: Encourages safe digging

Contact: Xcel Energy Media Line, 715-737-2565

Safe gardening and landscaping means calling 8-1-1 before digging
April is National Safe Digging Month

EAU CLAIRE- With warmer spring weather in the forecast, Xcel Energy reminds customers that April is National Safe Digging Month and to be safe, customers should call 8-1-1 to have underground utility lines marked before beginning digging projects.

Damaging or striking a single line can create a dangerous situation, cause injury, or result in repair costs, fines and outages. In Wisconsin, homeowners and contractors should call 8-1-1 or submit an online request to Wisconsin One Call at least three business days in advance of a planned project. Every digging project, large or small, warrants a call. Installing a post for a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree are all examples of projects that need a call to 8-1-1.

Wisconsin One Call will notify the appropriate utility companies of the caller’s intent to dig. At no charge, professional locators will mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

In Wisconsin, Xcel Energy has more than 150 incidents a year where buried gas and electric lines are damaged during excavation. Roughly 20 of the cases, or 13 percent of the dig ins are caused by homeowners who didn’t call 8-1-1 before beginning their project.

“State law requires that property owners have underground lines located prior to any digging. This includes any lines that were previously located. It is also important to only dig by hand and follow state requirements for minimum clearance on either side of the locate marks,” said Betsy Rogers, manager, Field Safety and Training. Customers need to make arrangements with a private locate company to locate lines not owned by a utility, such as a line installed by a homeowner to heat a pool or light a garage.

For more information about 8-1-1 and safe digging practices visit Call 8-1-1 Before you Dig or Wisconsin One Call.