Ready to Shake Off the Memories of the Polar Vortex with Spring Digging Projects?
March 31, 2014
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – March 31, 2014 – While it still might be too cold in Illinois to start spring outdoor digging projects, Nicor Gas is taking the opportunity during April, which is National Safe Digging month, to remind homeowners and contractors planning any digging projects to call 8-1-1 prior to commencing any digging.
“When the warmer spring temperatures arrive many home and business owners will be heading outdoors to start projects that require turning over some dirt, like sprucing up their gardens or installing a fence. It’s always a good idea to make safety a top priority,” said Beth Reese, president of Nicor Gas. “National Safe Digging Month gives us the opportunity to create awareness about underground utilities and promote why calling 8-1-1 before you dig is vital.”
When making the free call to 8-1-1, homeowners and contractors are connected to JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators), which notifies the appropriate utility companies (natural gas, electric, water, sewer, communication) 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 or spray paint. Once lines have been accurately marked, digging can begin around marked lines. JULIE neither owns nor marks any underground utilities.
To help create a greater awareness of safe digging practices, Nicor Gas also is soliciting the help of its employees. The company is launching its second annual 8-1-1 Photobomb Contest for employees. The contest is designed to build awareness of safe digging practices by asking employees to submit photos that display 811 in a fun, creative way. “Our employees are company ambassadors who help us inform their peers, family members, neighbors about safety matters related to our business, so the contest serves as a fun opportunity for them to share this important safety information,” Reese said.
Nicor Gas is providing the following safe digging guidelines for homeowners and contractors:
- Call Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor project involving digging, customers are advised to make contacting JULIE at 8-1-1 or 1-800-892-0123 part of their plans. Calls to the free locating service can be made up to 14 days in advance. The requests to have utility operators mark underground facilities, including natural gas, water, cable, telephone and electric lines, can be made 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
- Wait the Required Time: Before doing any digging, customers are urged to call 8-1-1 and wait the required time to have underground utility lines marked. The approximate location of underground utility lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. The color used for natural gas is yellow.
- Respect the Marks: Once the lines are marked, use the appropriate digging methods, which may include hand tools, and dig no closer than 18 inches from the marked utility lines.
- Dig with Care: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to call 8-1-1 to have lines re-marked. If a natural gas line is accidentally damaged or the distinct odor of gas is present, call the Nicor Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 888-Nicor4U (1-888-642-6748) from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or any equipment that might cause a spark.
For information about natural gas safety, visit www.nicorgas.com
About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS), is a natural gas distribution company that serves more than 2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit www.nicorgas.com.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services, midstream operations and cargo shipping. AGL Resources serves approximately 4.5 million utility customers through its regulated distribution subsidiaries in seven states. The company also serves approximately 630,000 retail energy customers and approximately 1.2 million customer service contracts through its SouthStar Energy Services joint venture and Pivotal Home Solutions, which market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses include asset management for natural gas wholesale customers through Sequent Energy Management, ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities, and ownership of Tropical Shipping, one of the largest containerized cargo carriers serving the Bahamas and Caribbean region. AGL Resources is a member of the S&P 500 Index. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.