Apr 7, 2020
(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – As spring gives way to warmer weather, social distancing and staying “healthy at home” may mean digging into more DIY projects outside. During National Safe Digging Month, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company are reminding area residents to contact Kentucky 811 and make sure underground lines are marked before projects begin.
Kentucky 811 is a free statewide computer-operated communication system that provides a communication link between excavators and operators of underground utilities. The service enables consumers to submit a “locate request,” which is passed on to each member company that provides natural gas, electric, telephone, cable, sewer and water service in the requested area. Each company will then either mark its underground lines or notify the individual if there are no underground lines. Using the service helps to protect public safety; avoid costly repairs and fines; and guards against the potential for disrupting service to an individual or entire neighborhood.
Kentucky law requires all excavators – professionals and general public alike – to have lines marked in advance before beginning any excavation projects. Recent updates to penalties for failing to have lines marked give the Kentucky Public Service Commission the authority to levy fines for failing to comply with the requirements of the Kentucky statute related to protection of underground utilities. Penalties for violating the statute range from $1,250 for the first violation, to $2,000 for a second violation, and $4,000 for subsequent violations.
Consumers can access Kentucky 811 through its online option “811Now,” which provides an online form to request facility markings at a single address, or by dialing 8-1-1. Both are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Four steps to safe digging:
- Contact Kentucky 811 online or by phone at least two business days in advance.
- Wait the required amount of time.
- Respect the marks that outline the underground utility lines and equipment and the tolerance zone of 18 inches on each side.
- Dig with care.
All LG&E and many KU service territory locations are included under the 811 call center. KU customers should visit KU's Call Before You Dig web page or call 800-981-0600 to determine the appropriate area contact for having underground electric lines marked.
If considering home improvement projects, be sure to follow CDC, public health and state guidelines, and avoid going to the store unless necessary. Check with retailers in your area for available alternative options for purchasing any supplies necessary, such as delivery or online purchases.
Properly marking lines in advance increases the odds of successfully completing excavation work in the United States without causing damage to underground lines and equipment by 99%.
Through their work with contractors and homeowners, and investigating dig-in damages in the field, LG&E and KU personnel and damage prevention coordinators actively educate consumers about the importance of using 811 because it protects public safety and prevents costly damages.
Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies, are regulated utilities that serve nearly 1.3 million customers and have consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. LG&E serves 329,000 natural gas and 418,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties. KU serves 558,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia. More information is available at www.lge-ku.com and www.pplweb.com.