SDG&E Reminds Customers to “Call 811 Before They Dig”

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 11, 2011 – Today marks National 811 day and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) is reminding customers to “call 811 before they dig” prior to starting any digging projects to avoid damaging hidden gas lines and injury.
“During the warmer months, many homeowners begin projects which require digging on their property such as installing a mailbox, putting up a new wall or fence, building a deck or planting a tree which can cause damage to a pipeline or result in unnecessary and costly damage, possible injury or service interruption,” said Bret Lane, vice president of field services for SDG&E.  “Since gas lines that serve homes and businesses are located underground and out of sight, we urge customers to make the quick 811 phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility owned lines marked for free.”

According to SDG&E, there were about 170 preventable customer and contractor
“dig-in” incidents in 2010.  The company hopes to help decrease that number this year through increased public awareness.

Customers should call Underground Service Alert toll-free 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 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.

No damage is too small to report.  Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages.  Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811.  If a customer causes what seems to be only minor damage to a pipeline, or any component attached to the pipeline, they should still notify SDG&E immediately by calling (800) 611-7343.

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.5 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

For further information: Media Contact: Allison Zaragoza, San Diego Gas & Electric, (877) 866-2066,