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CenterPoint Energy encourages increased safety awareness during National Safe Digging Month
Calling before you dig is your responsibility and it’s free

MINNEAPOLIS – April 05, 2011– CenterPoint Energy is partnering with the Common Ground Alliance (GCA), the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) and the governor’s office to commemorate April as National Safe Digging Month which is dedicated to increasing awareness of safe digging practices. Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed the month of April as Safe Digging Month in Minnesota.

CenterPoint Energy reminds homeowners and contractors that during the heavy summer excavation months of on-going construction projects, they need to call 811 before digging or excavating. 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 200,000 underground utility lines are struck in the United States and 38 percent of all U.S. digging damages result from not calling before digging,” said Kris Tande, supervisor of Damage Prevention for CenterPoint Energy. “The 811 hotline is a free service that will notify affected utilities of a person’s intent to dig. Within a few days, the utility companies will mark the approximate locations of the utility-owned lines with paint and/or flags.” 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.

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.

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 $20 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.