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Starting a spring digging project? Call 8-1-1 to avoid damaging underground utility lines

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – March 28, 2016 – Spring marks the traditional start of digging season, when people head outdoors to start outdoor projects they have been waiting to tackle all winter. Virginia Natural Gas wants to remind homeowners and contractors that the digging season also increases their chances of damaging underground utility lines, including natural gas, if they do not take the necessary step of calling 8-1-1 before digging.

When making the free call to 8-1-1, homeowners and contractors are connected to Virginia Utility Protection Service, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. At the direction of the utilities, professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate horizontal locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint. Once all lines have been accurately marked, digging can begin.

To build awareness about protecting underground utilities and help ensure the safety and the continuity of critical services, Virginia Natural Gas is providing homeowners and contractors with the following safe digging guidelines:

  • Call 8-1-1 Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor project involving digging, customers are advised to contact 8-1-1 or 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.
  • Allow the Required Time for Marking: 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.
  • Excavate Carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If they are illegible or removed, customers are encouraged to call 8-1-1 to have the lines re-marked. If a Virginia Natural gas pipeline is accidentally damaged or the distinct odor of gas is present, first call 9-1-1 then 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/safety.

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 290,000 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 which owns and operates natural gas utilities, as well as retail energy and services, wholesale services and midstream businesses. AGL Resources serves approximately 4.5 million utility customers through its regulated distribution subsidiaries in seven states. The company also serves more than one million retail customers 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 and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. AGL Resources is a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500 Index. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.

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Media Contact
Duane Bourne
Mobile: 757.955.0363
dbourne@aglresources.com