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Campaigning costs money; don't let it cost a life, warns CenterPoint Energy

CenterPoint Energy is reminding the public to call 811 before installing election campaign signs on their property. Recently a campaign sign was installed directly over a natural gas pipeline because underground lines were not properly located. While calling 811 should happen when installing anything that will go below ground level, it is especially true for larger campaign signs that require heavier support structure. The campaign sign's structure went three feet into the ground.

One free call to 811 before installing signs or digging can prevent injuries, property damage, service disruption and possibly costly fines for damaged infrastructure.

Calling 811 before you dig is not only the smart thing to do, it's the law.

"Please call 811 to notify affected utilities of your intent to place signs in the ground to avoid a potentially dangerous situation," said Kris Tande, supervisor of Damage Prevention for CenterPoint Energy. "Each year, more than 150,000 underground utility lines are struck in the United States and 38 percent of all excavation damages result from not calling to have the utilities located."

When homeowners call 811, they connect to Gopher State One Call, who then notifies the appropriate utility companies of the homeowner's intent. Professional locators are sent within two working days to the requested site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. The flags and spray paint notify workers of the underground gas lines and to dig carefully.

In addition to calling 811, homeowners and professional excavators in Minnesota have the option to visit the Gopher State One Call website to submit dig information or by using the Gopher State smart phone app for convenience.

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 an outdoor project, smart digging means calling 811 before each job.

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