Stay safe. Call before you dig.
May is National Electrical Safety Month. As people gear up for spring construction, yard work, and planting, Otter Tail Power Company reminds customers and neighbors that, before digging, they need to notify utilities that have lines or cables buried in the area.
Every digging project, rural or urban, no matter how large or small, requires a call to the national 811 One Call center at least 48 hours before digging. That means calling no later than Wednesday for a weekend project. Dial 811 and you'll be connected to your state's One Call center, which will notify the appropriate utility companies. Be prepared to give the location and start time of your dig activities. Professional locators will mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and/or paint.
The 811 call and the utility locates are free. Digging into a line, on the other hand, can cause injury, and you may incur repair costs and fines. Unsafe digging also can compromise community safety and disconnect people from critical services. Damaging underground utility lines, though unintentional, can cause needless outages to the utilities whose convenience you enjoy, including electricity, water and sewer, cable TV, telephone, and high-speed Internet.
Each state has its own rules and regulations, but all projects that involve digging more than a foot deep require a call to 811 or contact your state's One Call center:
Minnesota - 800-252-1166 or www.gopherstateonecall.org
North Dakota - 800-795-0555 or www.ndonecall.com
South Dakota - 800-781-7474 or www.sdonecall.com
"Utility line depths can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces so, even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line exists," says Otter Tail Power Company's Safety Services Manager Eric Hamm. "Always call before you plant trees or shrubs, establish a new garden, begin that field tiling project, dig footings for your new garage, bury a water line, install that flag pole or mailbox, erect a fence, dig that trench, create your new water pond, or build a new deck or patio. It's fast, it's easy, and it's the law. And it's especially important during National Electrical Safety Month as all these projects finally become possible with spring weather."
Otter Tail Power Company, a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: OTTR), is headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It provides electricity and energy services to more than a quarter million people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. To learn more about Otter Tail Power Company visit www.otpco.com. To learn more about Otter Tail Corporation visit www.ottertail.com.