Nicor Gas Reminds Homeowners and Contractors to Dial 8-1-1 Before Digging
Kicking off Spring with a Digging Project?
NAPERVILLE, IL – March 31, 2015 – While the long, cold winter kept many cooped up indoors, April, which is national safe digging month, marks the time of year when people head outdoors to start projects that require digging. However, if the proper safety steps are not taken, planting a flowerbed and building a deck can increase the chances of damaging underground utility lines. To create awareness about protecting underground utilities and help ensure the safety and the continuity of critical services, Nicor Gas is reminding homeowners and contractors to call 8-1-1 prior to beginning any digging.
“We want anyone planning an outdoor project to remember that you do not always know what is underground,” said Beth Reese, president of Nicor Gas. “Calling 8-1-1 first will help avoid the possibility of putting you and your family in harm’s way.”
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 third 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 8-1-1 in a fun, creative way. “This is a great way for our employees to have fun, while also helping to spread important safety information to peers, family members and neighbors,” 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.
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.
AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services and midstream operations. 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 and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. AGL Resources is a member of the S&P 500 Index. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.