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Nicor Gas reminds communities to dig safely as outdoor projects increase during Safe Digging Month

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – April 5, 2021 – To help keep springtime outdoor projects running smoothly and safely, Nicor Gas is reminding the community during April, Safe Digging Month, that do-it-yourself homeowners and professional excavators alike are required by law to call 811 before digging on any property.

“We put safety first as we provide our customers with the comforts of natural gas, but we can’t do it alone,” said Emeka Igwilo, chief data officer and vice president of Operations Support at Nicor Gas. “By identifying the location of the underground infrastructure in your area before starting a new project, you can do your part to stay safe and protect our state."

Even simple projects such as gardening and landscaping can be dangerous and disruptive when digging with utility cables and pipes underground. Nicor Gas emphasizes the importance of contacting 811 to have underground infrastructure located before the start of any digging project. This includes fence installation, driveway or sidewalk paving, building a home addition or installing a pool. The requirement to call 811 also applies before clearing a sewer line, tunneling, grading, boring, blasting or similar work.

Nicor Gas owns, operates, designs and maintains more than 34,000 miles of natural gas infrastructure throughout northern Illinois. In addition to those lines, there are underground communications cables, electric, water and sewer lines and other utility lines on every property. Knowing where underground infrastructure is before putting a shovel in the dirt helps prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient service outages.

To help ensure communities stay safe and connected, Nicor Gas offers the following safe digging guidelines:

  • Contact or Click 811 Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor digging project, contact 811 or visit JULIE, Illinois’ one-call center at illinois1call.com at least three business days in advance to request that locating experts mark underground utility lines. Requests are free and can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Allow the Required Time for Marking: After contacting 811, wait to have underground utility lines marked before starting to dig. 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: Only use handheld digging tools to uncover the area carefully around a utility line when you need to dig close by. 
  • Excavate Carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If they are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to contact 811 to have lines remarked. If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally or the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas is present, call 911 or the Nicor Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 888.Nicor4U (888.642.6748) from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or create an open flame.

The company also provides a fun, interactive way for parents and their children to learn about natural gas safety with its digital Safe Digging Arcade. The arcade uses science, engineering, technology and math puzzles and games to educate children about how their families can stay safe and avoid damaging a utility line when digging around their homes.

About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.2 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 Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company.  Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.2 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with 774,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at southerncompanygas.com

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Media Contact:
Jennifer Golz
o: 630.388.3737  |  c: 331.222.8716 |  jgolz@southernco.com