April is National Safe Digging Awareness Month and the week of April 24-30 is Locator Safety and Appreciation Week. The Line Locating and Quality Control and Damage Investigation crews ensure utilities and the community are protected.  UniSource gas and electric provide locating services with their team of six full-time utility technicians and 16 part-time service technicians.

Check out some interesting facts and meet some of our employees.

What does the department do?  Line locating employees respond to all 811 tickets to identify and mark all underground utilities.  Homeowners and contractors are required to contact Arizona 811 to create a ticket at least two full working days before digging.

The Quality Control and Damage Investigators respond to all damaged utilities to assess the cause.  Contractors can be held accountable for not following Arizona 811 Blue Stake law.

Why is their work so important? Their work keeps the community safe and protects underground utilities. Whether putting in a fence post, replacing a mailbox or adding a tree to your yard, you are required to call 811 at least two working days before digging to give all utility companies adequate time to mark all of the underground facilities.

How many tickets do technicians close in a day? Depending on the scope of the project, an individual employee can close anywhere from 20-60 tickets a day.

How many tickets did technicians close in 2021? UniSource technicians processed 50,000 tickets.

Did you know?

  • As a homeowner, you must wait until you have received responses from all of the facilities listed on your ticket before you can start digging.
  • Locators will often need access to equipment on your property to mark facilities at a nearby property or neighbors house.
  • 811 tickets are only valid for 15 days.
  • Electric utilities are marked in red, while yellow is used for gas utilities.

Meet one of our UniSource employees:

Cliff Balderas, a UniSource line locator in the Flagstaff area, enjoys doing community presentations and sharing handbooks with homeowners or professional excavators when he sees an opportunity to head off an accident. “I love the noble cause of damage prevention. The homeowners I talk to are almost universally grateful to know about the steps they need to take. I get to do what I love to do, so while I’ve been doing this for 36 years, to me, it’s not work.”

Questions?  Check out www.arizona811.com for more information.

Caption: UniSource Energy Services Gas service technician Mike Choat looks for buried gas lines in Camp Verde, AZ

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