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 Media Release

Contact: Kandi Young, Public Information Officer
Date: June 22, 2017
(503) 373-1571
(503) 551-5290 cell phone
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) hopes this date on the calendar, 8/11, serves as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. 
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC), the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig.  Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the appropriate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.
Striking a line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages.  Every digging project, no matter how large or small, requires a call to 811.  Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.
“Today and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike that they must call 811 at lease two business days before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Lori Koho, Utility Safety and Reliability Administrator.  “811 helps maintain the safety of Oregon residents and the reliability of utility services that we all appreciate.”
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces.  Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.
For more information about 811 and safe digging practices, visit digsafelyoregon.com.
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The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulates customer rates and services of the state’s investor-owned electric, natural gas and telephone utilities, as well as select water companies.  The PUC mission is to ensure Oregon utility customers have access to safe, reliable, and high quality utility services at just and reasonable rates, which is accomplished thorough analysis and independent decision-making conducted in an open and fair process.