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For Immediate Release
ComEd Media Relations
April is National Safe Digging Month
CHICAGO (April 4, 2019) – With the arrival of National Safe Digging Month in April, ComEd reminds all customers and contractors to stay safe and avoid underground power lines by calling 811 before they dig to have utility-owned lines marked. Damage to an underground utility line occurs every nine minutes in the U.S. because people dig without calling 811, according to the Common Ground Alliance, the national association that promotes safe digging practices.
More than 40 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year for DIY projects don't plan on calling 811, putting themselves and their communities at risk, according to a national survey the Common Ground Alliance conducted in March. Striking an underground electric line can cause serious injury, costly damages and loss of power. Whether installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree or laying a patio, customers (or their contractors) should call 811 before starting a digging project of any size.
ComEd manages nearly 33,000 miles of underground electric lines in its region, many of which cross 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 utility lines. Even properties that are not served by a particular service may still have utility lines running below ground.
When customers and contractors call 811, they are connected to JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators), a service that provides 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, including water and sewer lines on private property. Equipment such as sewer clean-outs and water valve covers can indicate the presence of underground lines.
The safety of our customers, our people and our contractors is ComEd's highest priority. 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. ComEd is a member of the Common Ground Alliance to share best practices to promote safe excavation and lower instances of damage to underground lines.
To learn more visit www.ComEd.com/safety.
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