JACKSON, Mich., Aug. 11, 2017 – Today is National Safe Digging 8-1-1 Day, and Consumers Energy is encouraging Michigan homeowners and business owners to call MISS DIG 8-1-1 before starting digging projects.
“The safety of our customers, the public and local communities is our No. 1 priority. Everyone is safer when anyone digging takes the time to call 8-1-1 to be sure they’re not digging near underground pipes,” said Mary Palkovich, Consumers Energy’s vice president of gas engineering and supply. “We are pleased to see progress in building public awareness of MISS DIG 8-1-1, and we want to help people avoid underground pipelines.”
Damages to Consumers Energy natural gas system because homeowners did not call MISS DIG 8-1-1 are down 21 percent in the first half of 2017 compared to same period in 2016. There were 104 reports of these damages in the six months of 2016, and 82 in 2017.
MISS DIG 8-1-1 is a one-call service that alerts utilities to dispatch crews to mark underground utility lines with flags and/or paint in the area you plan to dig. The service is fast, free and required by law.
Typical homeowner projects that should prompt advance contact to MISS DIG 8-1-1 include landscaping and installation of decks, fences and sprinkler systems. Due to erosion and changes in soil grade, some utilities may be buried more closely to the surface than expected, and could be damaged when using a shovel or other hand equipment for projects like planting small shrubs and even flowers.
A free call to MISS DIG 8-1-1 at 8-1-1 or online at http://elocate.missdig811.org at least three business days before digging will help ensure the safety of those performing the work and the integrity of underground utilities such as natural gas, electric, cable and water.
Other safe digging tips for homeowners:
Plan your job. Confirm all underground facilities have been marked before you dig by calling 8-1-1 or visiting http://response.missdig811.org.
Once underground lines have been marked, dig with care -- using only hand tools if digging within 48 inches of the marks until the location and depth of the facility is determined.
If using power equipment to excavate within 48 inches of a marked area, state law requires that hand tools be used first to determine exact location and depth.
If you contact or damage a utility line, contact the utility owner immediately. If the damage results in a dangerous situation, call 9-1-1.
Teach children to leave the colored staking flags in the ground so safe digging can occur.
Consumers Energy also has joined MISS DIG and Gold Shovel Standard to provide resources to municipalities to highlight best-in-class performance by Michigan’s excavation community.
“Gold Shovel Standard certification helps municipalities increase control over the safety and integrity of their buried infrastructure, and allows them to identify contractors who exhibit a commitment to extreme caution and safety training,” said Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG System. “The Great Lakes Gold Shovel Foundation is ensuring program uniformity throughout the state to minimize the burden placed on Michigan contractors.”
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.