Planting trees, shrubs and other springtime landscaping this year? Rocky Mountain Power reminds its customers and the public of the importance of contacting the underground utility location services prior to starting activities that require digging. A shovel hitting an underground power line can be as dangerous as coming in contact with an overhead power line. “Electricity is an important part of each of our lives, but it also poses an inherent danger if safety rules are ignored. Particularly during this spring planting season, everyone should follow electrical safety rules when undertaking any project that requires digging,” said Mike Felice, Rocky Mountain Power safety director. “Using the underground utility locating services is a simple precaution that can help avoid serious injury and potential power outages to neighborhoods.”

 

Each state has this locating service that is accessed by simply calling 811 at least 48 hours (two business days) before beginning any digging project. Workers will locate all underground utility lines – electric, gas, water, communication, etc. – and mark them for free. If you need a direct number to the local underground utility locating service in your area, call Rocky Mountain Power toll free at 888-221-7070.

 

Once the lines are located, follow the required clearances. A minimum clearance of 24 inches from the marked line is required when using any power-operated or earth-moving equipment. If it is necessary to dig within the 24-inch area, only use hand tools with extreme caution to avoid contact with the utility lines. Due to soil erosion over time and changes in landscaping, utility lines once buried several feet underground could now be just inches below the surface.

 

In addition, understanding the markings that are used is helpful. Markings are standardized by the American Public Works Association and include:

  • RED – electric power
  • YELLOW – gas, oil and petroleum
  • ORANGE – cable TV and communications
  • BLUE – water
  • GREEN – sewer and storm water

 

Whether marked or unmarked, if an underground power line is damaged during digging, immediately call 911 if a threat to human life exists and keep everyone away from the area until help arrives. In addition, call Rocky Mountain Power so the line can be repaired. The toll-free number to report the damage is 877-508-5088.

 

“Call before you dig is the best advice anytime,” Felice said. “But it’s especially important to remember this time of year when so many landscaping projects are getting underway.”

 

For additional electrical safety information or to order a free Power Lines – Stay Away to Stay Safe brochure, visit  www.rockymountainpower.net/safety .