Tucson, Ariz. – UniSource Energy Services is reminding customers that the first step in any home improvement or construction project requiring excavation is calling 811 to avoid injury and damaging underground utilities.
The reminder is part of National 811 Day on Aug. 11, a national campaign that urges homeowners to pick up the phone and call 811 before beginning any project that involves digging. After you call, UniSource and other service providers will visit the worksite to mark the location of any underground utilities, helping you avoid a potentially dangerous and costly accident. Without knowing what’s underground, digging or excavating could damage lines and result in serious injuries.
Arizona law requires anyone who plans to dig for any reason to contact Arizona 811 at least two full working days in advance to have all underground utilities in the area located and marked. Utilities can charge customers who damage an unmarked line for repairs and downtime, and the Arizona Corporation Commission can levy a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation for damage to utility equipment.
Calling 811, on the other hand, is free – utilities don’t charge for marking underground utilities.
Nearly 50,000 requests to locate utilities were completed last year in communities served by UniSource. The company also repaired 130 damaged gas lines, including 94 that were damaged badly enough to release gas. Luckily, none of those incidents resulted in explosions, fires or significant injuries. But any of them could have, which is why calling 811 is so important – even for small jobs.
For more information about natural gas safety, visit uesaz.com/gas-safety.
UniSource provides natural gas to more than 163,000 customers in northern and southern Arizona. It also provides electric service to more than 98,000 customers in Mohave and Santa Cruz counties. For more information about UniSource, visit uesaz.com. UniSource and its parent company, UNS Energy, are subsidiaries of Fortis, Inc., which owns utilities that serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. To learn more, visit fortisinc.com.
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