301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

8.11.23 – WDAM – PINE BELT, Miss.

Want to possibly save thousands of dollars before beginning a project outdoors?

Don’t forget to call 8-1-1 before the first shovelful flies.

A simple three-digit call can help avoid buried cable and utility lines.

“Eight-one-one is the number that If you need to excavate in any shape, form or fashion, that you would call to have utilities notified to mark their locations around where you’re planning to dig.” Dixie Electric Power Association General Manager Randy Smith said.

Installing a mailbox or fence, planting a tree or shrub? All of these should require a free call to 8-1-1 to locate those underground obstacles.

“It’s costly when utility infrastructure is damaged,” Smith said. “On power lines, it’s a lot easier to repair stuff overhead than it is underground.

“It takes a lot longer. You have to excavate the holes, you have to shore up the holes where you were working at and, ultimately, the material is more expensive to work with. So, it’s not an easy fix and it’s not an inexpensive fix.”

Calling 8-1-1, is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the law. Said law requires a person or contractor to call 8-1-1 before digging.

But the bottom line for picking up the phone and punching in three numbers may be a project’s bottom line.

Anyone digging into a utility cable is responsible for paying for repairs, something that can run into thousands of dollars.

“If a homeowner does decide to dig without calling and they hit a facility, it’s going to be their responsibility to repair it and pay for the damages,” said Fred Johnson, president of Mississippi 8-1-1.

Damage doesn’t even have to be extensive. Didn’t call before digging and then hit a utility? Even the smallest damage is coming out of the project’s pocket.

“Most of the damages that occur for failure to call is by homeowners and many times gas lines are damaged, even just scraping the outside coating of the gas line is damaged because that breaks down their corrosion protection.” Johnson said.

8-1-1 service is free and available 24-7. Call ms811.org