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Virginia Natural Gas and National Excavator Initiative get dirty with Mike Rowe to spread the word to contact 811 before digging

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia – Aug. 3, 2022 – Virginia Natural Gas is getting in the trenches alongside the National Excavator Initiative (NEI) and bringing along one of America’s most trusted personalities, executive producer, Emmy-winning host, bestselling author, podcaster and skilled-trades advocate, Mike Rowe. Mike’s animated alter ego, Micro Mike Rowe, joins to spread the word on the importance of contacting VA811 before you dig.

Known for the hit TV series, “Dirty Jobs,” “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” and his groundbreaking Facebook show, “Returning the Favor,” Rowe and his animated sidekick highlight the critical importance of underground utility infrastructure. With some earthy humor, they share what can — and likely will — go wrong if homeowners and contractors don’t contact Virginia 811 before digging.

Through the National Excavator Initiative, Rowe connects with industry experts who help educate the public and professional excavators about the 811 process. The campaign includes radio, print, online media and billboards.

“Virginia Natural Gas is excited to work with the National Excavator Initiative to feature Mike Rowe and Micro Mike Rowe’s voices to amplify our messaging around the importance of contacting Virginia 811 before you dig,” said Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “We are committed to the safe delivery of natural gas to our more than 310,000 residential and business customers across Southeast Virginia. This collaboration will promote safe digging and help build awareness of the damage prevention laws that keep our community safe.”

Contacting VA811 at least three business days before starting any digging project is free and is required by state law. When homeowners and contractors contact 811, it notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.

Virginia Natural Gas encourages homeowners and contractors to always dig with C.A.R.E:

  • Call before you dig: Before starting any outdoor digging project, customers should call or visit VA811 at least three days in advance to request having underground utility lines marked. Requests to have utility operators locate underground lines, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week (excluding holidays). The service is free.
  • Allow the required time for marking: After contacting Virginia 811, wait for underground utility lines to be marked before digging. Locators will mark the approximate location of buried lines with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes corresponding to the utility. The color used for natural gas lines is yellow.
  • Respect the marks: Only use hand-digging tools to carefully uncover the area around a utility line when you need to dig near location markers.
  • Excavate carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to contact Virginia 811 to have lines redrawn.


Learn more about natural gas safety at https://www.virginianaturalgas.com/safety/digging.html.  

About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 310,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy) and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the Year five times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its business customers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and a Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on FacebookTwitter,  Instagram, LinkedIn and Nextdoor.

About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 600,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.

About the National Excavator Initiative
The National Excavator Initiative aims to raise awareness of underground infrastructure and the importance of contacting 811 before digging. NEI is supported by over 70 companies across the country, including those operating pipelines and electric transmission lines, local electric, gas, water and waste utilities, manufacturing, excavation, construction companies, industry associations, and 811 organizations. Public service announcements featuring Rowe and Micro Mike Rowe, as well as informative video content with industry experts can be seen at www.safeexcavator.com.

Media Contact:
Rick DelaHaya
o: 757.616.7510 | c: 757.323.7366
rdelahay@southernco.com | www.virginianaturalgas/pressroom