PUC Recognizes National 811 Day & Damage Prevention Efforts
August 11, 2020
Calling 8-1-1 Before Starting Any Digging Project is an Essential Safety Step for Contractors and Those Working Around the Home
HARRISBURG – On this 11th day of August, or 8/11, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) recognizes “National 811 Day,” and reminds all residents, contractors and utilities of the importance of calling 8-1-1 before digging to help ensure the safety of excavation projects across the state.
“Our Damage Prevention Committee (DPC) has been doing an excellent job emphasizing the role of the Pennsylvania One Call System (PA One Call),” said Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr. during the PUC’s Public Meeting on Aug. 6. “Even with the Coronavirus pandemic and the slowdown of some construction projects, there have been more than 555,000 PA One Call tickets to locate underground utility lines so far this year.”
More excavators and homeowners understand the importance of 8-1-1 thanks to increased public awareness and education.
Every time an underground utility line is hit, there is a risk to the contractors or homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized to deal with the damage; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents.
During the first half of 2020, a total of 2,617 line hits were reported to PA One Call, compared to 2,785 for the same period last year – a reduction of about 6 percent (168 hits), despite a near-record number of line-location calls.
Even with a near-record number of underground line location requests, the number of reported “hits” continues to drop – helping to make everyone safer.
PA One Call Law
State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting utilities to mark where their facilities are located. Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776.
When the PUC first took on the role of enforcing the state’s One Call Law, underground lines across the state were struck more than 6,000 times per year – but the situation continues to steadily improve, thanks to education, public awareness and enforcement.
About the DPC
The August meeting of the Damage Prevention Committee (DPC) is fittingly being held on 8-1-1 Day – featuring a brief history of PA One Call and underscoring the “4 C’s” of damage prevention – cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication.
The DPC is a peer-based group of 13 representatives, nominated by their industry or affiliated organization and appointed by the PUC. Creation of the committee was authorized by Act 50 of 2017, which enhances Pennsylvania’s Underground Utility Line Protection Act – also known as the “One Call Law.” The focus of the DPC is to reduce the number of “hits” on underground lines and utilities.
The DPC meets regularly to review alleged violations of Act 50 and make informal determinations as to the appropriate response including, but not limited to, the issuance of warning letters, mandatory training programs and/or administrative penalties. Summaries of actions taken at monthly DPC meetings are available on the PUC’s website.
About the PUC
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Facebook for easy access to information on utility issues.
|Senior Communications Specialist