NEWARK, NJ — April is National Safe Digging Month. PSE&G, New Jersey’s largest utility, urges contractors, excavators and customers to call 8-1-1 before digging to help prevent natural gas emergencies. When an individual calls 8-1-1 to request a utility markout, they must wait three business days for the utility companies to properly mark underground lines with paint and flags. The markout will then remain valid for 45 business days.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is for homeowners and contractors to follow the law in calling 8-1-1 prior to any kind of excavation. Especially at a time when we’re relying on important utilities to connect us and keep us safe at home, calling 8-1-1 is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you can dig safely,” said Mike Gaffney, senior director of gas operations at PSE&G. “You will be surprised how often damages occur from small homeowner projects like installing fences, mailboxes and planting trees. All of these avoidable damages result in safety-related hazards and can lead to costly repairs, for which homeowners may be responsible. This also holds true for contractors that are excavating. When hiring a contractor, homeowners should ensure that the contractor is following the law and calling 8-1-1 prior to any excavation. It is the easiest way to ensure you are digging safely.”
Digging without knowledge of the location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, utility disruption and costly repairs. In 2020, PSE&G responded to 913 excavating damages — 756 gas and 157 electric. The best way to prevent excavating damage is to call 8-1-1 before beginning any digging project this spring and use caution around marked facilities.
Physical distancing continues to be an important tactic in fighting COVID-19, so PSE&G reminds the public that mark-out work is performed entirely outdoors and there is no need for any interaction between the technician and the person who called to request the mark out.