In the past, most utility lines were strung overhead; in this day and age public utilities have gone underground. Everything from telephone lines, to cable television lines, to gas and power lines, and even sewer lines are buried at varying depths. It is important to handle these lines with care. A knick or a cut to any of these lines can disrupt your residential utility service.
In Colorado, smart digging means calling 811 before you start any outdoor job to have your utility lines located and marked. Digging without calling can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm you and those around you and potentially result in fines and repair costs. Calling 811 before every digging job ensures your underground utility lines are marked for free, and helps prevent undesired consequences. *
Know the Dangers
Though electrical lines may look harmless, high-voltage lines used to conduct electricity from one place to another can be hazardous or even deadly if a person accidentally comes into contact with one. Failing to call before you dig means that a piece of excavating equipment or a hand tool like a shovel or spade could inadvertently sever an electrical transmission line. This means any type of digging, whether you are planting trees and shrubs, re-anchoring your mailbox, or even placing landscaping edging has a potential hazard.
Depending on the size of the line that is cut, the damage might result in power loss to the home where the damage occurred and to other nearby homes and businesses. In a worst-case scenario, the line damaged could be a major transmission line serving a large area that would completely lose power until service is restored. Workers and homeowners in the vicinity of a severed electrical line are also at risk of electrocution if they touch the line itself or are in contact with a piece of metal equipment that touches an exposed electrical line.
Call a Professional
It is impossible for most homeowners to know the exact of location of all the electrical lines on their property. Even if a homeowner is present when the lines are buried, erosion and other forces can cause the lines to shift slightly over time. Locating electrical wires should always be left to a professional. Remember call 811 before you dig. Xcel Energy of Colorado offers email, and Web requests for line location as well, visit www.co811.org for more information. Or, give the Colorado electrical contractors at Piper Electric Co., Inc. a call today to get any or your electrical questions answered by our lovely staff. We can help guide you in the right direction for properly locating your utility lines.
* Taken from Xcel Energy, co811.org