Ready to Shake Off the Memories of the Polar Vortex with Spring Digging Projects?
Atlanta Gas Light reminds homeowners and contractors to dial 8-1-1 before digging
ATLANTA – March 31, 2014 – While the long, cold winter had many cooped up indoors, April, which is Safe Digging Month, marks the time of year when people head outdoors to start digging projects like planting a flowerbed and building a deck, which can increase the chances of damaging underground utility lines. To create awareness about protecting underground utilizes and help ensure the safety and the continuity of critical services, Atlanta Gas Light is encouraging homeowners and contractors to call 8-1-1 prior to commencing any digging.
“Safety is the number-one priority of Atlanta Gas Light, and National Safe Digging Month gives us the opportunity to create awareness about natural gas pipeline safety and promote why calling 8-1-1 before you dig is important,” said Bryan Batson, president of Atlanta Gas Light.
When making the free call to 8-1-1, homeowners and contractors are connected to Georgia 811, which notifies the appropriate utility companies (natural gas, electric, water, sewer, and cable communications) 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. Georgia 811 neither owns nor marks any underground utilities.
To help create a greater awareness of safe digging practices, Atlanta Gas Light also is soliciting the help of its employees. The company is launching its second 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 811 in a fun, creative way. “Our employees are company ambassadors who help us inform our peers, family members, neighbors and the general public about safety matters related to our business,” said Batson.
Atlanta Gas Light 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 Georgia 811, by dialing 8-1-1 or visitingwww.georgia811.com, as part of their plans. Calls to the free locating service can be made up to 10 days in advance. The requests to have utility operators mark underground facilities, including natural gas, water, cable, telephone and electric lines, can be made by dialing 8-1-1 Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for normal locate requests. The call center is open 24/7 to take damage and emergency locate requests.
- Wait the Required Time: Before doing any digging projects, plan in advance. The Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act (GUFPA) requires you to contact Georgia 811 at least 48 hours but no more than 10 working days in advance to have 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 24 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 1-877-427-4321 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or any equipment that might cause a spark.
For information about natural gas safety, visit www.atlantagaslight.com
About Atlanta Gas Light
Atlanta Gas Light, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS), provides natural gas delivery service to more than 1.5 million customers in Georgia. In operation since 1856, the company is one of the oldest corporations in the state. For more information, visit www.atlantagaslight.com.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services, midstream operations and cargo shipping. 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, ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities, and ownership of Tropical Shipping, one of the largest containerized cargo carriers serving the Bahamas and Caribbean region. AGL Resources is a member of the S&P 500 Index.
For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.
Kristie Swink Benson