Companies Remind Communities to Call 811 Before Digging

In recognition of 811 Day, Piedmont Natural Gas and Duke Energy are reminding their customers and communities to call 811 before digging to protect the nation's underground utility infrastructure, prevent potential personal injury and avoid electric and natural gas outages.

"During the warmer months and as we move into the fall, many people may be working on outdoor projects that may involve digging," said Piedmont Natural Gas Senior Vice President Sasha Weintraub. "We're asking anyone who might be starting a project in their yard to please remember to call 811 at least three days before they dig to prevent personal harm, service outages and costs to replace damaged lines."

The national "811 Call Before You Dig" system was created so anyone who plans to dig anywhere can call to have underground utility lines clearly marked. Calling 811 is a free service. Contractors, homeowners, businessowners and anyone preparing for a digging project of any kind should call 811 at least three business days before digging begins. The local utilities will then send a crew to mark underground lines in the area (electric, natural gas, water, sewer, phone, cable TV and others) with stakes, flags or paint.

"While accidents do happen, most cut lines can be prevented with a free call to 811," Weintraub said. "In addition to the danger and expense of damaged utilities, many incidents lead to road closures and evacuations, and they can tie up police, fire and other emergency resources who are needed elsewhere."

In 2020, Piedmont and Duke Energy together reported more than 5,800 cuts to underground lines (natural gas and electric) in their service territories. Specifically, Piedmont and Duke Energy reported approximately 3,025 damages to their underground natural gas facilities in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky; Duke Energy reported around 2,800 damages to its underground electric network in all its service territories.

In late 2020, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) issued a report stating that 532,000 excavation-related damages to underground facilities occurred nationwide in 2019, compared to the 2018 estimate of 509,000 damages. The CGA is a national organization formed in 2000 to unify all 50 states in a shared effort to prevent damage to underground utilities and infrastructure.

For a video that shows how to use 811, click here. For additional information about 811, visit Call 811 Before You Dig. To get in touch with the 811 center in your state, dial 811 or visit

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