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Plan ahead - grab the phone before the shovel

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio –  Columbia Gas of Ohio reminds property owners planning a landscaping or construction project around the home to call 811 to have underground utility lines marked before they dig. Notification should be made at least 48 hours, but not more than 10 days, prior to the start of excavation.

April is National Safe Digging Month and the Central Ohio Damage Prevention Council is partnering with Columbia Gas and Marco’s Pizza locations in Columbus to remind property owners to call 811 to have underground utility lines marked.  Marco’s Pizza will offer a large 1-topping pizza for $8.11 every Monday in April.  

“Property owners should call 811 before beginning any outdoor project that involves digging,” said Scott Tustin, Central Ohio Damage Prevention Council President and Columbia Gas of Ohio Damage Prevention Coordinator. “It is a free service that keeps customers, excavators and Columbia Gas employees safe.”

National statistics show that when property owners and contractors call before they dig, the free service works more than 99% of the time, ensuring no damage to underground facilities.

Before digging for a new mailbox post, deck, fence or tree, Columbia Gas encourages property owners to take the following steps:

  1. Determine the project area and clearly mark it.
  2. Call 811 and allow time for marking, at least two business days.
  3. Respect the line markings and dig carefully.

Upon receiving a call from a property owner, the Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) will notify Columbia Gas and other OUPS member utilities of excavation plans. This gives Columbia Gas the opportunity to mark where underground Columbia Gas lines may be in conflict with excavation plans.

This free service can help protect customers from personal injury or property damage, and prevents interruption of natural gas and other utility services. Ohio law requires all excavators, whether contractors or homeowners, to contact OUPS at least 48 hours before starting to dig.

Columbia Gas of Ohio delivers clean, efficient natural gas to approximately 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties. With headquarters in Columbus, it is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) and is the largest natural gas utility in the state. NiSource distribution companies serve approximately 3.8 million gas and electric customers primarily in seven states.

 Be sure to call 811 at least two business days before you dig. For information about natural gas safety and what to do if you suspect a gas leak, go to SafeGasOhio.org.