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CenterPoint Energy reminds local residents to call 811 before all digging projects

CenterPoint Energy is partnering with the Common Ground Alliance, the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety and the governor's office to commemorate April as National Safe Digging Month.

The month is dedicated to increasing awareness of safe digging practices. Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed the month of April as Safe Digging Month in Minnesota.

CenterPoint Energy reminds homeowners and contractors that during the heavy summer excavation months of on-going construction projects, they need to call 811 before digging or excavating. One free call to 811 before digging can prevent injuries, property damage, service disruption and possibly costly fines for damaged infrastructure.

"Each year, more than 150,000 underground utility lines are struck in the United States and approximately one third (32 percent) of the damages resulted from failure to notify (calling 811) prior to excavation" said Kris Tande, supervisor of Damage Prevention for CenterPoint Energy. "It is important that everyone digs with C.A.R.E. Call 811 before your dig. Allow 48-hours for the utility lines to be marked. Respect the marks which means hand dig within 24-inches of the marks. Excavate carefully."

Since the 811 "Call Before You Dig" campaign was created in 2004, there has been roughly a 40 percent reduction in excavation damages. For more information, visit . Homeowners and professional excavators in Minnesota can visit the Web to make their requests through the internet. For more information visit the Gopher State One Call Website and look for ITIC Lite at .

The depth of utility lines varies and there may be multiple utility lines in a common area. So, whether it's a small project like planting trees or shrubs or hiring a professional for a special outdoor project, smart digging means calling 811 before each job.