HARRISBURG – As work on summer outdoor projects heat up, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission launched a statewide radio advertising campaign reminding residents to “know what’s below. Call before you dig.”
“The weather is finally allowing homeowners to start those do-it-yourself outdoor projects,” said Commissioner Kim Pizzingrilli (audio of the Commissioner’s radio advertisement). “Before you start that digging for that fence, mailbox post or new tree, dial up PA One Call using the new abbreviated dialing system of 8-1-1 to make certain underground utility lines are marked.”
“Whether the project is simple or even a little more involved, anyone planning to dig 18 inches or deeper should call PA One Call before digging,” said PUC Chairman Wendell Holland (audio of the Chairman’s radio advertisement). “Moving toward 8-1-1 abbreviated dialing for the PA One Call System provides easier access and ensures public safety by preventing damage to buried utility lines.”
“The PA One Call was designed to keep residents safe while preventing damage to underground facilities,” said Commission Vice Chairman James Cawley (audio of the Vice Chairman’s radio advertisement). “It’s a free service that can help everyone complete their home improvement projects safely.”
In Pennsylvania, homeowners and contractors are required to contact PA One Call at least three business days before beginning any digging or excavation project. In 2006, the PUC ordered all local telecommunications exchange carriers and other carriers with switching capabilities – including payphone providers – to fully implement 8-1-1 as the abbreviated dialing code to access PA One Call.
Underground power lines, communication cable, gas lines, water lines or other utilities may lie at various depths below the surface. When PA One Call receives a call, it will alert the appropriate underground facility owners of the intent to dig. The underground facility owners will mark any underground lines or facilities at the work site free of charge.
The PUC launched statewide radio ads as part of an effort to increase awareness of the new abbreviated dialing. With the implementation of the federal Pipeline Safety Act of 2002, 811 has been assigned for accessing One Call centers, as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. The PUC received grant money from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration to conduct the advertising campaign.
An informational brochure on the “Know what’s below. Call 8-1-1 before you dig.” campaign also is available on the Web site under the Consumer Education link.
The One Call System was established in 1974 and provides a single telephone number for contractors and residents to call. Before digging begins, PA One Call System facilitates contact between those wishing to conduct excavation at a particular location with the owners and operators of underground facilities at the locale, including public utilities. All excavators and residents must contact PA One Call at least three days prior to excavation, as required by law. For more information, go to www.pa1call.org.