MINNEAPOLIS, April 2, 2012 – Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proclaims April as Safe Digging Month and CenterPoint Energy is partnering with his office along with the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) to promote and increase awareness of safe digging practices. CenterPoint Energy reminds homeowners and contractors that they need to call 811 before digging or excavating during the heavy summer excavation months of on-going construction projects. One free call to 811 before digging can prevent injuries, property damage, service disruption and possibly costly fines for damaged infrastructure.
“Each year, more than 150,000 underground utility lines are struck in the United States and approximately one third of the damages occurred from failure to call 811 prior to excavation,” said Kris Tande, supervisor of Damage Prevention for CenterPoint Energy. “It is important that everyone digs with C.A.R.E. Call 811 before your dig. Allow 48-hours for the utility lines to be marked. Respect the marks, which means hand dig within 24-inches of the marks. Excavate carefully.”
Since the 811 “Call Before You Dig” campaign was created in 2004, there has been roughly a 40 percent reduction in excavation damages. For more information, visit call811.com. Homeowners and professional excavators in Minnesota can visit the Web to make their requests through the internet. For more information visit the Gopher State One Call Website and look for ITIC Lite at www.gopherstateonecall.org.
The depth of utility lines varies and there may be multiple utility lines in a common area. So, whether it’s a small project like planting trees or shrubs or hiring a professional for a special outdoor project, smart digging means calling 811 before each job.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total more than $21 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is the state’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serving about 800,000 customers in 260 communities. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com