Working in the Garden this Spring? Watch out for Buried Gas Lines, SoCalGas Warns

LOS ANGELES, May 3, 2011 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is reminding customers to “call 811 before they dig” to avoid damaging buried natural gas lines when doing projects in their yard, such as installing a new wall or fence, planting or re-working landscaping, putting in a swimming pool, or other yard renovations. 

“During the warmer months, many homeowners begin projects that require digging on their property,” said J. Bret Lane, vice president of field services for SoCalGas.  “Since gas lines that serve their homes are located underground and out of sight, sometimes just inches below the surface, we urge homeowners to make a quick phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility-owned lines marked for free.  This will help them avoid possible injury, unnecessary and costly damage, or service interruption.”

According to SoCalGas, there were more than 2,200 customer and contractor preventable accidents caused by “dig-ins” last year.   In more than half of those cases, no call was made to 8-1-1 to have lines located and marked.

Customers should call Underground Service Alert by simply dialing 8-1-1 at least two business days before digging in their yard.  As a free service, Underground Service Alert will contact SoCalGas and other area utilities.  Each utility will then locate and mark the underground facilities they own.

SoCalGas-owned pipelines typically extend from the gas main, in front of or behind the home, to the gas meter.

Customer-owned piping is the line that runs beyond the gas meter to a building or area where gas-fueled equipment or appliances are located.  To have these customer-owned lines located and marked, SoCalGas advises customers to call pipe and leak locating service companies or plumbing contractors who provide these maintenance services.

"Once all lines are marked, customers should carefully use only hand-digging tools within two feet on each side of marked gas lines,” Lane said.

No damage is too small to report.  Even a slight gouge, scrape or dent to a pipeline or the pipe’s coating may cause a dangerous break or leak in the future.  If a customer causes or discovers what seems to be only minor damage to a pipeline, or any component attached to the pipeline, they should still notify SoCalGas immediately by calling 1-800-427-2200.  For more safety information, visit


About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).

For further information: Media Contact: Denise King, The Gas Company, (877) 643-2331,