SoCalGas Reminds Customers to 'Call 811 Before You Dig'

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is committed to safety and is reminding customers to "call 811 before you dig" in the garden or at construction sites.  Calling 811 or Underground Service Alert will help customers to avoid possible injury or damage to hidden gas lines or service interruption.


Even if customers are doing relatively minor projects such as putting up a new wall or fence, building a deck, planting or removing large trees or any other renovations, the digging necessary for these projects can result in hitting gas lines if they aren't located prior to the work.  Recently, a customer was planting rosebushes and hit a line that was not marked out.  This damage caused disruption of gas service to several homes, as well as a street closure for several hours.  This could have been avoided if the customer had simply called 811 before digging in their flower bed.

"Since gas lines that serve homes and businesses are located underground and out of sight, customers won't know where they are located.  We urge our customers – whether digging at their businesses or homes -- to make the quick 811 phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility-owned lines marked for free," said Bret Lane, vice president of field services for SoCalGas.

Last year, there were 2,296 customer and contractor "dig-ins" or preventable accidents which SoCalGas hopes will decrease this year through increased public awareness.

Before digging in their yard, place of business or the street, customers should call 811 to reach Underground Service Alert at least two working days before the project is to begin.  Underground Service Alert is free and they will contact SoCalGas and other area utilities.  Each utility will then locate and mark the underground facility they own.

SoCalGas-owned pipelines typically extend from the gas main, in front or behind the home or business, to the gas meter.  Customer-owned gas pipes are the line that runs from the gas meter to the building or area where gas-fueled equipment or appliances are located.  To have these customer-owned lines located and marked before a project, SoCalGas advises its customers to call pipe and leak locating service companies or licensed plumbing contractors who provide 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 added.

No damage to gas lines is too small to report.  Even a slight gouge, scrape or dent to a pipeline or coating may cause a dangerous break or leak in the future. If a customer causes what seems to be only minor damage to a pipeline or a component attached to a pipeline, they should call SoCalGas immediately at 1-800-427-2200.

About Southern California Gas Co.

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) 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 connected 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).


CONTACT: Anne Silva, 1-877-643-2331, for Southern California Gas Co.