Make NC811 a Part of Your Digging Project
Calling NC811 can save lives, and limit damage and extensive repairsBy Wendy Wood, Surry-Yadkin EMC
Buried beneath the ground are miles of underground utilities essential to everyday life, but those lines — electric, natural gas, water and fiber optic — can be dangerous. Accidentally hitting one of those buried lines when digging could cost someone their life, depending on the type of underground utility. They are also expensive to repair.
Before anyone begins an outdoor project that requires digging, whether that is as simple as installing a mailbox or planting a tree, they need to call or click 811 and request a locate for underground utilities.
Calling NC811 can save lives, and limit damage and extensive repairs.
What is known today as NC811 was founded in 1978 as ULOCO (Underground Utilities Location Request).
Today, 811 is recognized nationally as the number to “call before you dig.” Electric cooperatives and other utilities fund the nonprofit organization, making it a free service.
Excavators are required by law to report any damages to the affected utility and NC811. In 2014, a state law was passed requiring all owners of underground utilities become a member of the NC811 notification center. Also connected to this new law was the creation of a governor-appointed, 15-person enforcement board — the NC Underground Damage Prevention Review Board. This board reviews complaints against people who have violated the statute and provides the Utilities Commission with recommendations for penalties. Fines can reach $2,500, as well as requiring violators to cover all repair costs.
“Calling NC811 can save lives, and limit damage and extensive repairs,” said Greg Puckett, executive vice president and general manager of Dobson-based Surry- Yadkin EMC, who has served on the Underground Damage Prevention Review Board since November 2014. “I’ve been honored to be able to serve on this board on behalf of the electric co-ops.”
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