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MidAmerican Energy News

MidAmerican Energy Reminds Customers to Call 811 Before Digging

DES MOINES, Iowa – (April 11, 2016) – April is National Safe Digging Month – a time to remind customers to always call 811 before excavating or digging. A simple call to 811 can prevent hit lines, damaged infrastructure, power outages, costly fines and in some cases, serious injury.

“April is the month when outdoor digging projects begin in earnest,” said Adam Wright, vice president, gas delivery for MidAmerican Energy. “From small do-it-yourself tasks to large construction jobs, every digging project requires a call to 811 – it’s quick, easy and provides for the safety of excavators and homeowners.”

Every six minutes in the U.S., an underground utility line is damaged because someone started digging without first calling 811. This toll-free number automatically connects callers who plan to dig with their state’s one call center. Professionals are then sent to the dig site to locate and mark underground power lines, gas lines and other utilities with flags or paint. Customers can also submit a locate request online by visiting their one call center’s website.

People are required to call 811 at least 48 hours before beginning any digging project. Wright said it’s not only important to your safety, it’s the law. “Even the smallest dent or scratch to an underground facility can put those doing the digging and their neighbors at risk,” he said. “The law applies to professional contractors as well as homeowners and includes a wide array of outdoor projects, such as grading, trenching, tiling, ditching, drilling, auguring, tunneling, scraping, cable or pipe plowing, driving stakes or poles, and the demolition of structures.”

Tips for safe digging:

Know what’s below. Call 811 or make an online request at least 48 hours before digging to have underground lines marked.
Projects large and small require a call. This includes activities such as planting trees, building decks, and installing a fence or mailbox.
Dig with care. The horizontal location of underground utilities will be marked, but their depth will not be. Any time you suspect unmarked hazards or if you must dig near a marked utility line, hand dig the area carefully. Backfill the soil gently to avoid damaging any utilities.

If an underground facility is struck:

• Leave the area immediately and tell others to stay away.
• Call 911 and then call 811 to report the incident.
• Report even minor damage; what looks harmless can cause big trouble.

If 811 is not available in a specific location, customers should call:

• Illinois – 800-892-0123
• Iowa – 800-292-8989
• Nebraska – 800-331-5666
• South Dakota – 800-781-7474

Residents should make arrangements with a private locate company to mark privately owned lines not owned by a utility. For more information on safe digging, visit MidAmerican Energy’s Digging and Excavating web page.

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company is an energy provider serving 752,000 electric customers and 733,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via MidAmerican Energy Company's website.