April Declared Safe Digging Month in Michigan; Consumers Energy Offers Tips to Complete Projects Safely

Most Dig-in Damages Due to No Call to 811
Apr 17, 2017 8:05 AM ET
Press Release

JACKSON, Mich., April 17, 2017 /3BL Media/ – Consumers Energy has safety tips for do-it-yourselfers and contractors gearing up for digging projects this spring, and Gov. Rick Snyder is declaring April as Dig Safely Month to reinforce the importance of these reminders to Michigan residents.

“The No. 1 precaution to avoid underground utilities and perform a digging project safely is to first contact MISS DIG 811 before putting a shovel, backhoe, rototiller or any earth-moving equipment in the ground,” said Charles Crews, Consumers Energy’s vice president of gas operations. “The safety of our employees, our customers and our communities is the top priority at Consumers Energy. We want to emphasize it is simple and free to have underground utilities marked, and it is also the law if you are using power equipment.”

Safe digging practices not only prevent unintentional damage to natural gas, electric, cable, water, sewer and fiber optic lines, but also protect against property damage and potential personal injury. Every digging job requires contacting MISS DIG 811, from small do-it-yourself activities like planting trees and shrubs to large building and road construction projects.

Safe digging tips for homeowners include:

  • Contact MISS DIG 811 by calling 8-1-1, or visit www.missdig811.org at least three working days before digging to have underground utilities marked.
  • Wait to start projects until you are sure all lines are marked or cleared by the utility. This can be confirmed by contacting MISS DIG 811 at 8-1-1 or response.missdig811.org
  • Respect the marks and dig with care, especially when using power equipment. Whenever possible, stay at least 4 feet away from utility marks. If you are digging with power equipment and will be within 4 feet, you must use a wooden handle shovel to expose underground lines and confirm their exact location before digging.
  • Ask your contractor to confirm 8-1-1 has been contacted before allowing digging work to proceed. 

In 2016 Consumers Energy recorded 321 total utility damages resulting from homeowner projects, 275 were natural gas dig-ins and 46 were contacts with electric facilities. Of the natural gas dig-ins, 88 percent of damages reported were because a MISS DIG 811 locate request was not made prior to digging. 

“This damage statistic clearly shows that no matter the size of the outdoor project, calling 8-1-1 or visiting missdig811.org to place an e-locate request is directly related to the number of damages that occur,” Crews said. “It is critical for homeowners, contractors and excavators to contact us at least three working days in advance of any digging project.”

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

About Consumers Energy 
Consumers Energy is one of the nation's largest combination utilities, providing electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.6 million of Michigan's 10 million residents, in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties. Our Growing Forward strategy calls for investing more than $6 billion in Michigan over the next five years. That includes significant investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, environmental and customer service enhancements, and new power generation. The investments make Consumers Energy one of the largest investors in Michigan and will help the utility maintain and improve service to customers, create jobs, boost the state’s economy and expand the
state’s tax base.

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