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For Immediate Release
ComEd Media Relations
April is National Safe Digging Month
CHICAGO (April 6, 2017) – April is National Safe Digging Month and ComEd reminds all customers and contractors to call 811 to have utility-owned underground lines marked before digging. Nationwide, damage to an underground utility line occurs every six minutes because of digging without first calling 811, according to the Common Ground Alliance, the national association that promotes the 811 phone number and safe digging practices.
Striking an underground electric line can cause serious injury, damages and service interruptions. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects where a call to 811 should be one of the first steps.
ComEd manages nearly 33,000 miles of underground electric lines in its region, many of which may cross through residential properties. Properly locating these lines is essential to safely completing a digging job. In addition to ComEd's lines, there are underground communications cables, water and sewer lines, gas lines, and other utilities. Even properties that are not served by a particular service may still have utility lines running below ground.
When calling 811, customers and contractors are connected to JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) to provide information about their project at no charge. JULIE will notify all member utilities of your plan to dig. The utilities will then mark the underground facilities. Calls are required at least three days in advance. In the city of Chicago, customers can call 312-744-7000 to be put in touch with Digger, Chicago's JULIE program.
Once lines are located, excavators also must understand the markings and look for evidence of unmarked lines, such as water and sewer lines on private property. Sewer clean-outs and water valve covers are examples of equipment that can indicate the presence of underground lines.
ComEd works hard to ensure the safety of its customers, area contractors and its employees. As part of this effort, the company will launch a public safety advertising campaign to educate those who work around aerial and underground utility lines.
ComEd joins the Exelon family of utilities, Atlantic City Electric, BGE, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco, in marking National Safe Digging Month, and is a member of the Common Ground Alliance to share best practices to promote safe excavation and lower instances of damage to underground lines.
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