The Gas Company reminds customers to ‘call 811 before you dig’

Aug 11, 2010

Media Contact:
Denise King

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 643-2331


     LOS ANGELES, Calif., August 11, 2010 — Today marks National Call 811 Day and Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is reminding customers to “call 811 before you dig” when pursuing projects in the yard or at construction sites. This will help avoid possible injury, damage to hidden gas lines or service interruption.

     Even relatively minor projects such as installing a mailbox, putting up a new wall or fence, building a deck, planting and removing large trees or other renovations can cause damage to a pipeline or result in unnecessary and costly damage, possible injury or service interruption, according to Bret Lane, vice president of field services for The Gas Company.

     “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 them to make the quick 811 phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility-owned lines marked for free,” Lane said.

     According to The Gas Company, there were 2,660 customer and contractor “dig-ins” -- preventable accidents -- last year, which the company hopes will decrease this year through increased public awareness.

     Customers should call 8-1-1 to reach Underground Service Alert at least two working days before digging in their yard or place of business.  As a free service, Underground Service Alert will contact The Gas Company and other area utilities. Each utility will then locate and mark the underground facility they own.

     Gas Company-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 from 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, The Gas Company advises customers to call pipe and leak 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 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 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 any component attached to the pipeline, they should still notify The Gas Company immediately by calling 1-800-427-2200.

     Southern California Gas Co. is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.5 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. 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