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Outdoor Improvement Project Safety Means Call 8-1-1 Before You Dig

One Call: It's Easy, Simple, Fast, Free – And It's the Law

The most important piece of power equipment this spring for everyone – from construction contractors to municipal excavators and landscapers to homeowners – isn’t a backhoe, auger, bulldozer or grader. It’s the telephone and the easy-to-remember, toll-free, one-stop number, 8-1-1. That’s the nationwide One-Call Notification System’s phone number – 8-1-1 – the one number you Call Before You Dig.

April is National Safe Digging Month, a time when utilities, government agencies and other parties step up their campaigns to educate the public about the importance of calling 8-1-1. The call and the service are easy, simple, fast and free – and it’s the law.

By calling 8-1-1 before you dig, you’ll make sure utility representatives can identify for you the underground facilities they own and operate. That way, your digging does not strike any underground natural gas lines, electric cables, phone lines or water and sewer pipes or other utility infrastructures.

Anyone who damages underground facilities because they did not follow the 8-1-1 regulations to call at least 2 to 10 working days before starting work is subject to hefty fines and repair costs. And, the risk of a dangerous, even fatal, accident is all-too real if you hit an underground electric or natural gas line.

The “Call 8-1-1 Before You Dig” program notifies O&R of the proposed work site so its qualified technician can locate, mark and identify utility-owned equipment with stakes, flags or paint to clearly mark areas to avoid.

If you see an active excavation site or digging project, but you don’t see flags or painted markings, please call O&R at 1-877-434-4100 and report the location.

If you smell gas, immediately leave the area and call 911, O&R’s Gas Emergency Hotline at 1-800-533-LEAK (1-800-533-5325), or your local gas utility. You can report gas leaks anonymously.

For more details about working safely around O&R’s underground and overhead equipment, see our Web site at For more information about the 811 One-Call Notification System, visit the website.

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R), a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, is a regulated utility. O&R provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company) and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.