MINNEAPOLIS – March 27, 2014 –Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges issued proclamations announcing April as Minnesota Safe Digging Month. The proclamations urge homeowners to call 811 before starting any outdoor digging projects to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages.
A utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide, and one in four of these incidents are caused by failure of the professional excavator or homeowner to call 811 before beginning their digging projects.
“Contacting Gopher State One Call at least two working days before digging prevents 99 percent of damages to vital underground utilities,” said Keith Novy, supervisor of Damage Prevention for CenterPoint Energy. “Gopher State One Call makes it very easy and convenient. You can submit your dig requests on your smart phone, on the website at www.gopherstateonecall.com or call 811 and talk to an operator.”
‘During the past few years, we have seen a downward trend nationally in the total number of damages; which can be attributed to the ongoing work and industry promotion of calling 811 to have underground utilities marked,” said Governor Dayton. “However, several natural gas pipelines continue to be damaged; this is a trend we can reverse if we work together.”
“We join the governor in strongly urging individuals and companies of their responsibility to call 811 before they begin digging,” added Betsy Hodges, Mayor of Minneapolis. “By having underground utility lines marked, homeowners are making an important decision that can help them stay safe.”
By calling 811 before digging:
• Homeowners are connected to Gopher State One Call, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig.
• Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and paint.
• Once lines have been accurately marked, homeowners can dig carefully around marked lines.
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, necessitates a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.
Visit www.call811.com for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and competitive natural gas sales and services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. The company also owns a 58.3 percent limited partner interest in a midstream partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp. with operations in major natural gas and liquids-rich producing areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. With more than 8,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.