Know the law, practice these tips during National Safe Digging Month and all year
(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged or destroyed because an excavator did not have the lines marked before digging. The odds for avoiding these dig-ins improve by 99% if lines are properly marked in advance. While blue skies and warm spring weather entice us to kick off the winter dust and jump into outdoor projects, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company are reminding area residents to pick up their phones before picking up their shovels to contact Kentucky 811 to have underground lines marked.
During National Safe Digging Month this April, follow these 7 important tips to keep safe, follow the law and avoid disrupting important utility services.
- Contact Kentucky 811: This free statewide computer-operated communication service coordinates with member utilities to have underground utility lines marked. Consumers can submit a locate request online at 811now.com or by phone when they dial 8-1-1. Both options are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Submit a locate request: Information about your project 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 in the area where they are excavating.
- Wait the required amount of time: After submitting a locate request, you must allow at least two full business days before digging to give utilities time to visit your property and mark their lines. Utilities will mark their lines within 48 hours after receiving the request.
- Know the meaning of each color: Whether lines are marked using yard flags or paint, each distinct color serves a purpose and represents a type of utility service.
- Dig with care around the marks: Leave at least 18 inches on all sides of the underground utility line and equipment markings.
- Respect the law: Kentucky law requires all excavators – professionals and the general public alike – to have lines marked in advance before beginning any excavation projects. Those who violate the statute can face financial penalties.
- Consider full-grown dimensions: When planting trees and shrubs, pay close attention to their full-grown height and root-depth estimations. While it may not look intrusive now, root growth can damage foundations and damage underground utility lines if planted too closely. And, trees and tree debris coming in contact with overhead power lines are a major cause for power outages. To make sure you plant the right tree for your space, use LG&E and KU’s Right Tree, Right Place program and tips to help.
LG&E is a Kentucky 811 member utility in all of its service territory; KU is a member utility in most of the Kentucky counties it serves. KU customers can visit KU's Call Before You Dig web page or call 800-981-0600 to determine if they are required to contact KU directly to have underground electric lines marked or if they can submit their request to 811 to have all underground lines, including electric marked.
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. Visit lge-ku.com/safety for more important safety tips, resources and information.
Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies, are regulated utilities that serve more than 1.3 million customers and have consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. LG&E serves 332,000 natural gas and 425,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties. KU serves 564,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia. More information is available at www.lge-ku.com and www.pplweb.com.
For further information: call the LG&E and KU media hotline at 502–627–4999.