For Release: 04/06/2012
Ishpeming, MI - Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) reminds customers that accidental contact from digging near underground utility services (natural gas pipelines, electric power lines, water lines and communication lines) can be extremely dangerous and could cause personal injury and disrupt vital services to entire neighborhoods.
Contractors working on a job site and homeowners working in the yard must CALL 811 BEFORE YOU DIG. There is a pre-established system, called Miss Dig, in place that will send a locator technician to where the digging will take place as soon as possible, usually within three working days from when the request was received. There is no charge for the service and the call is toll free.
"It's not just for those who are using power digging equipment," said UPPCO Customer Service Coordinator Scott Roehl. "We want anyone who is digging in their yard from a simple home project of planting a tree, installing a sprinkler system, to installing fence posts, to call the hotline first. Digging can be dangerous if you don't check below the surface before you start."
For excavation contractors, UPPCO holds annual "safe digging" meetings and invites anyone associated with commercial digging to attend. UPPCO has nearly 7,000 miles of underground electric facilities. Nationwide, there are more than 200,000 unintentional hits on underground facilities annually.
The Safe Digging Month was started by the Common Ground Alliance, an association created to work with all utility stakeholders in an effort to prevent damage to underground utility systems. The Alliance has 1,400 members nationwide and grew out of the US Department of Transportation's study that pointed out the national need to establish best practices amongst the entire utility industry.