Calling before you dig saves lives

SALT LAKE CITY  – Long-awaited spring weather is sure to inspire many to don gloves, grab a shovel and tackle some serious outdoor projects. However Rocky Mountain Power is urging customers to take one important safety step before hitting the dirt:  dialing 8-1-1 before doing any digging.

Homeowners who plan to dig this year for gardening and other home projects will put themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 811 beforehand to learn the approximate location of underground utilities. 

“Installing a fence post or planting a tree are among the many commonplace projects that should trigger a call to 8-1-1,” said Jeremy Gee, Rocky Mountain Power’s managing director of safety. “Those may seem like simple, harmless projects, but the hazards are very real. If you hit a buried electric line, it could be fatal.”

The Call Before You Dig line is a national toll-free number the puts customers in touch with a locating service that alerts local underground facility owners so they can mark the approximate location of their lines with paint or flags.

There are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States. These buried facilities, including gas, water, sewer, cable TV and high-speed Internet provide the services Americans depend on for their basic everyday needs.

If you don’t know where they are buried before you dig, you are in danger. Even if you are lucky enough to not be harmed, you could be responsible for causing a service outage in your neighborhood — and potentially be responsible for the substantial repair costs, said Gee.

To learn more about electrical safety or to order free electrical safety materials visit