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UGI Encourages Homeowners and Contractors to Work Safely During National Safe Digging Month

31 Mar 2016

Reading, PA – UGI urges homeowners and professional contractors to “know what’s below” and to “look up and live” when taking on home improvement projects this spring. These simple practices will help prevent injuries and damage as well as safeguard critical underground facilities, overhead electric wires and other equipment.

April is National Safe Digging Month, an initiative designed to raise awareness about safe digging practices to help prevent property damage, injuries and utility outages. Nationwide, there are more than 19 million miles of underground pipes and cables. One underground utility line is damaged every six minutes by unsafe digging practices.

UGI reminds all individuals and contractors doing excavation work to call to 8-1-1 at least three days before starting a digging project to ensure underground utilities are properly marked.  Pennsylvania law requires a call to the One Call (811) Center when residents are using powered equipment to conduct major landscaping and even minor digging projects.

There is no charge for 8-1-1 requests.

Every digging project, no matter how small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck and even homeowner landscaping projects like planting trees or shrubs are all examples of digging projects that require a call to 8-1-1 before they begin.  When making the free call to 8-1-1, callers are connected to their local one-call center. The one-call center then notifies the appropriate utility companies of the location of planned excavation. Following receipt of the call, utility companies send out professional locators to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or paint.

“Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and outages that inconvenience communities. In fact, third-party excavation damage is the number one cause of natural gas pipeline damage involving death or serious injury,” Robert Krieger, UGI vice president of operations, said.

“National Safe Digging Month provides us with an opportunity to remind homeowners and contractors to call 811 before digging to prevent the risk of striking an underground utility line,” Krieger added.  “In addition, damage and potential injuries can be avoided by being aware of overhead lines as well.”

Visit www.ugi.com/811 or call811.com for more information about safe digging practices and excavation safety.

 UGI Utilities has headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania and serves 680,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland.  Customers interested in additional information visit the UGI website at www.ugi.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ugiutilities; Twitter at www.twitter.com/ugi_utilities.