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Ready to Shake Off the Memories of the Polar Vortex with Spring Digging Projects?
Virginia Natural Gas reminds homeowners and contractors to dial 8-1-1 before digging
March 31, 2014
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – March 31, 2014 – While the long, cold winter had many cooped up indoors, April, which is Safe Digging Month, marks the time when people will be heading outdoors to start digging projects like planting a flowerbed and building a deck, which can increase the chances of damaging underground utility lines. To create awareness about protecting underground utilities and help ensure the safety and the continuity of critical services, Virginia Natural Gas is encouraging homeowners and contractors to call 8-1-1 prior to commencing any digging.
“Safety is the number one priority of Virginia Natural Gas and National Safe Digging Month gives us the opportunity to create awareness about natural gas pipeline safety and promote why calling 8-1-1 before you dig is important,” said Jodi Gidley, president of Virginia Natural Gas.
When making the free call to 8-1-1, homeowners and contractors are connected to Miss Utility of Virginia, which notifies the appropriate utility companies (natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines) of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint. Once lines have been accurately marked, digging can begin around marked lines. Miss Utility of Virginia neither owns nor marks any underground utilities.
To help create a greater awareness of safe digging practices, Virginia Natural Gas also is soliciting the help of its employees. The company is launching its second annual 8-1-1 Photobomb Contest for employees. The contest is designed to build awareness of safe digging practices by asking employees to submit photos that display 811 in a fun, creative way. “Our employees are company ambassadors who help us inform our peers, family members, neighbors and the general public about safety matters related to our business,” said Gidley.
Virginia Natural Gas is providing the following safe digging guidelines for homeowners and contractors:
- Call Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor project involving digging, customers are advised to make contacting by calling 8-1-1 or 1-800-552-7001 as part of their plans. Calls to the free locating service can be made up to 14 days in advance. The requests to have public utility operators mark underground facilities, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
- Wait the Required Time: Before doing any digging, customers are urged to call 8-1-1 and wait the required time to have underground utility lines marked. The approximate location of underground utility lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. The color used for natural gas is yellow.
- Respect the Marks: Once the lines are marked, use the appropriate digging methods, which may include hand tools, and dig no closer than 24 inches from the marked utility lines.
- Dig with Care: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to call 8-1-1 to have lines re-marked. If a natural gas line is accidentally damaged or the distinct odor of gas is present, call the 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or any equipment that might cause a spark.
For information about natural gas safety, visit www.virginianaturalgas.com
About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS), provides retail natural gas sales and distribution services to 275,000 customers in southeast Virginia. For more information, visit www.virginianaturalgas.com.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services, midstream operations and cargo shipping. AGL Resources serves approximately 4.5 million utility customers through its regulated distribution subsidiaries in seven states. The company also serves approximately 630,000 retail energy customers and approximately 1.2 million customer service contracts through its SouthStar Energy Services joint venture and Pivotal Home Solutions, which market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses include asset management for natural gas wholesale customers through Sequent Energy Management, ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities, and ownership of Tropical Shipping, one of the largest containerized cargo carriers serving the Bahamas and Caribbean region. AGL Resources is a member of the S&P 500 Index. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.