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 October 12, 2015 - 3:33 PM EDT
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PG&E Urges Safe Digging Practices as Customers Rush to Complete Outdoor Projects before Storm Season

Even as the days get shorter, the weather remains ideal to finish outdoor projects before the official storm season arrives. Whether it’s finishing the long ignored fence project or finally getting around to planting drought-resistant plants, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reminds customers that even in the rush to finish outdoor projects in the last sunny weekends of the year, they should always call 811 at least two working days before any digging project.

“The need to finish projects safely has become even more urgent as we all prepare for what could be a very significant storm season, but it’s important that you take the time to call 811 before any digging project. We see more damaging dig-ins to our underground facilities in the autumn than during any other season; this final push to complete outdoor projects may be part of the reason for this seasonal trend,” said John Higgins, PG&E’s vice president of Gas Transmission and Distribution Operations.

While many may assume a majority of dig-ins happen during the warmer summer months, more than 20 percent of all unintentional underground natural gas lines strikes on PG&E facilities take place in the months of September and October.

Calling 811 connects homeowners and contractors to Underground Service Alert (USA) which provides a free service that notifies utility companies about any type of excavation project. Professional locators are sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

PG&E offers these tips for a safe excavation:

  • Call 811 at least 2 working days before and up to 14 calendar days in advance of an excavation or digging project.
  • On paved surfaces, mark the proposed excavation area with white chalk-based paint.
    • Homeowners can also use other white substances such as sugar or flour.
  • On unpaved surfaces use flags or stakes to mark the proposed excavation area.
  • Carefully hand-excavate within 24 inches on either side of a utility-marked facility.
    • Digging even a few inches can pose some risks of striking a utility line.
  • Immediately notify utilities about any type of contact or damage to wires or pipes.
  • If there is any damage to PG&E electric wires or gas pipelines, or if there is a possible gas leak, take these steps immediately:
    • Move to a safe location
    • Call 911
    • Call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000

For more information about 811 and safe digging practices, visit or

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and

Donald Cutler, 415-973-5930

Source: Business Wire (October 12, 2015 - 3:33 PM EDT)

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