The Gas Company reminds customers to 'call before you dig,' in wake of Texas gas explosion

Jun 8, 2010

Media Contact:
Denise King

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 643-2331


        LOS ANGELES, June 8, 2010 – In the wake of yesterday’s gas explosion in Texas, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is reminding customers and contractors to “call 811 before they dig” in their yard or construction site to avoid damaging buried natural gas lines and to help avoid possible injury or service interruption.

        “Although the cause of this tragic incident is under investigation, it serves as a reminder to our customers that gas lines are located underground and out of sight, sometimes just inches below the surface,” said J. Bret Lane, vice president of field services for The Gas Company.   “Pipelines can run under streets, sidewalks or on private property. We urge homeowners and contractors to make a quick phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility-owned lines marked for free."

        According to The Gas Company, there were nearly 2,600 customer and contractor preventable accidents last year caused by “dig-ins,” which the company hopes will decrease this year through increased public awareness.


        June 10th is National Pipeline Safety Day, as designated by Congress, and customers are reminded to call Underground Service Alert 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 The Gas Company and other area utilities.  Each utility will then locate and mark the underground facilities 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. 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 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.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.