To garden and landscape safely, first contact 8-1-1 – Sterling Journal-Advocate

With the climate warming all over Colorado, people will no doubt be heading to their backyards to start their gardening and lawn jobs. Xcel Energy wants to make sure customers are safe while working in the yard and stresses the importance of contacting Colorado 811 to request that underground power lines be marked first. Once again, the State of Colorado has officially proclaimed April 2022 as Dig Safety Month.

Damaging or striking a single line can create a hazardous situation, causing injury or death, resulting in repair costs, fines and service interruptions. In Colorado, homeowners and contractors are required by law to submit a request to have utility lines located. Every digging project, big or small, deserves a call – from installing a post for a mailbox or building a deck to planting a tree. It’s easy to submit a claim at colorado811.org where the process is streamlined. The request must be made at least three working days before a planned project.

Colorado 811 will notify the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. At no charge, professional locators will mark approximate underground line locations with flags, spray paint, or both. When Xcel Energy locators visit a site, they will wear personal protective equipment and have proper identification. Most likely, they won’t need to interact with customers or enter their homes or buildings.

In 2021, Xcel Energy had 339 incidents in Colorado where Colorado 811 was not notified, resulting in damage to buried gas and electrical lines. In 2021, company-wide, there was less than one damage incident per 1,000 locations, which is the lowest damage rate Xcel Energy has experienced.

In Colorado, the Underground Damage Prevention Commission supports safe digging laws for Colorado and oversees all complaints and claims submitted. To learn more, please visit: https://ops.colorado.gov/UDPSafetyCommission.

Customers may also need to make arrangements with a private locating company to locate lines that do not belong to a utility, such as a line installed by a homeowner to heat a swimming pool or light a garage. Information for private location companies can also be found at colorado811.org.

For more information about 8-1-1 and safe digging practices, visit colorado811.org.

Terri S. Tomasini