Always Call 811 Before You Dig

Published on Monday, April 1, 2024 in Electric

We always say that if you don’t call 811 before digging, you risk cutting utilities for yourself and your neighbors (and racking up quite the repair bill).

Recently, we had some customers experience an internet outage due to our fiber line accidentally getting cut when a customer was digging on their property. These customers didn’t have internet for several hours—some for about 30.

fiber line break photo
Broken fiber line causes outages for customers

Contacting 811 not only ensures you don’t cut a utility line, it also keeps you safe. Gas and electric lines lurk underground and can result in serious injury or even death if you come into contact with one.

Finally, if you hit a utility line because you didn’t call 811, you will be financially responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repairs.

How it Works

You can contact 811 by calling 8-1-1 at least three business days before you plan to dig on your property.

Once you’ve submitted a locate request, you’ll receive an email with your ticket number. Keep this handy for later.

Utility owners then have three business days to go out to your property and mark where their facilities are located using paint and/or flags. Once this is complete, the utility owners will update their status online to show what they marked on your property.

To check the status of these lines, visit your state’s 811 website (see below for addresses) and input your ticket number. Ensure all facilities are labeled Marked, Exempt from Marking, or No Conflict. If a label says Has Not Responded or Not Complete and your start work date and time has arrived, contact 811 again and ask the operator for assistance.

Please note that if a line is not owned by a utility company, you will need to contact a private utility locator to mark it. In Michigan, this includes propane lines.

Once all lines are marked, your start work date and time has arrived, and Positive Response statuses are all green, you’re ready to dig! Be sure to hand dig if you’re digging within four feet of paint or flags, and always dig with care.

811 Resources

Visit the websites below for more information about your state’s utility notification system.