Working in the garden this spring? Watch out for buried gas and power lines, SDG&E warns

Media Contact:
Sabra Moallem

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, March 20, 2009 – San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) is encouraging customers to “call 811 before they dig” to avoid damaging buried natural gas and electric lines when pursuing projects in their yard, such as putting up 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 which require digging on their property,” said J. Bret Lane, vice president of gas transmission and distribution for SDG&E.  “Since gas and some electric lines are located underground and out of sight, we urge homeowners to make a quick phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utilities marked for free.  This will help them avoid unnecessary and costly damage, possible injury or service interruption.”

        According to SDG&E, there were more than 300 customer and contractor “dig-ins,” preventable accidents last year, which the company hopes will decrease this year through increased public awareness.

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

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

        Customer-owned natural gas piping and buried electrical lines are lines that run beyond the gas meter or electric panel to a building or area where gas-fueled or electric equipment or appliances are located.  To have these lines located and marked, SDG&E advises customers to call pipe and cable locating service companies or plumbing contractors who provide maintenance services.

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

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.  For more safety information, visit SDG&E’s Web site at, or call (800) 411-7343.