The recent arrival of spring means it’s yard work time. For many homeowners that means it’s time for projects that may involve digging. And April is recognized as National Safe Digging month.

If you have plans of digging to build a fence, plant a tree, build a patio or deck or install a mailbox, remember to call 811 – it’s a free call – before your project to make sure you’re not digging into any utilities such as underground power lines.

State law requires that an 811 call be made before any digging with power equipment. That call, which is free, must be placed three business days prior to a dig. Once the call is placed, a crew will be sent out to survey the area and use spray paint, flags or other markers to label underground power, water, sewer and gas lines.

“Making that 811 call just makes sense,” said Mark Santayana, manger of Public Safety for PPL Electric Utilities. “It costs nothing, but it means everything as far as keeping yourself and others safe.”

When calling 811, be prepared to share the following information:

  • The county and municipality in which the planned dig is located.
  • The street name and address.
  • The intersection.
  • The name of the company doing the work (if applicable).

Knowing the importance of calling before digging, PPL Electric Utilities has expanded its efforts in recent years to get the word out about calling 811.

It has spread the message using its Live Line Electrical Safety Exhibit, which is used to teach the public about electrical safety and has sponsored several 811-related events throughout the year, including events at baseball stadiums across the PPL service territory on August 11, also known as 8/11 Day.

Those programs have led to a reduction in so-called dig-ins, which occur when someone makes contact with an underground utility – in this case PPL electrical lines – which can lead to serious injuries.

For more information about the Call Before You Dig law, visit www.pa811.org.