Working in the garden this spring? Watch out for buried gas lines, The Gas Company warns

Media Contact:
Denise King

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, May 15, 2006 – San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) is encouraging customers to “call before they dig” to avoid hidden 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 Hal Snyder, 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.  This will help them avoid unnecessary and costly damage, possible injury or service interruption.”

        According to SDG&E, there were more than 700 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 (USA) toll-free by simply dialing 8-1-1 at least two working days before digging in their yard.  As a free service, USA will contact SDG&E and other area utilities, and the utilities will then locate and mark their respective underground facilities.

        SDG&E-owned pipelines typically extend from the gas main, in front of or behind the home, to the gas meter.  Similarly, underground electrical service typically extends from a pole or pedestal transformer in front of or behind the home, to the connection point of the customer’s electric service panel, via underground conduit.

        Customer-owned natural gas 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 lines located and marked, SDG&E advises customers to call pipe and leak locating services 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,” Snyder said.

        SDG&E currently serves 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 825,000 natural gas meters.  The utility’s service area spans 4,100 square miles and serves customers in more than 125 communities from Southern Orange County to the Mexican border.  SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.  To learn more, go to