April is National Safe Digging Month, and PECO reminds residents, businesses, and contractors that safe digging must remain a priority to prevent damage to critical underground energy infrastructure and keep communities safe.

You may not know it, but there are hundreds of miles of utility lines buried below the surface across the region and the country. This vast network includes everything from electric to water to natural gas, and telecommunications.

While summer is the perfect time tackle yard projects, before you dig, it’s important to know what below to stay safe.

Before taking on any project that involves digging, 811 must be called at least three business days in advance to identify the approximate location of underground utility equipment. 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.

In 2023 alone, PECO was called to 481 incidents where damage was caused to underground electric or natural gas equipment due to unsafe digging practices. Despite damage prevention laws that have been in place for decades, a recent national survey found that 26.9 million homeowners planning do-it-yourself digging projects will not contact 811, putting themselves and their communities at risk of utility disruptions, costly fines, repairs, and even serious injury or death.

Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. The 811 service is free and can help ensure a safe project for you and your neighbors. For example:

  • Planting new rose bushes? Call 811.
  • Putting in a new mailbox? Call 811.
  • Building a deck? Call 811.
  • Installing a flagpole? Call 811.

When you’re ready to start your digging project, here’s how to do so safely:

  • Simply call 811 at least three business days before your project
  • You will be connected to PA One Call, the state’s coordinator for utility line marking
  • PA One Call will collect information about the project and provide it to PECO and other member utilities
  • The utilities will then mark their underground facilities

Protecting underground facilities is our communal responsibility. Do not put yourself or your community at risk. Do the right thing and call 811 to know what’s below.

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