National Grid Reminds Upstate New York Consumers to Call Before Digging

By Virginia Limmiatis

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Spring weather is finally here.  The warmer temperatures and longer days bring more outdoor work by individuals, contractors and excavators. With this in mind, National Grid reminds everyone to call before you dig. It’s not only the safe thing to do, it’s the law.

April is national “Dig Safely Month,” and National Grid urges the public to call Dig Safely New York, Inc., (by dialing 811) in order to prevent serious personal injury, property damage and service interruptions caused by accidentally digging into electric, gas, telephone, water, sewer or cable facilities.

Dig Safe serves as a single point of contact to notify National Grid and other participating utilities of planned digging, drilling or blasting. The utilities will clearly mark their buried facilities prior to the start of excavation to ensure customer safety and to prevent damage. The depth of utility lines varies, and there may be multiple utility lines in one common area. A quick phone call to 811 several days before digging connects callers to an operator at a local One Call Center who will provide information on when participating utilities must clearly mark their underground equipment. The call is simple and the service is free of charge.

In 2016, there were 307,500 dig safe tickets called into National Grid between electric and gas. Of these, 103,125 were gas tickets. There were 51 damages to gas lines or electric lines that were caused because there was no request for Dig Safe.

National Grid also offers these precautions about underground energy services:

  • Never permit anyone to dig near your underground energy sources.
  • Do not plant trees, bushes or shrubs near a transformer door or near a natural gas line or meters.
  • Never allow children to play or dig anywhere near underground electric or natural gas lines.

“One of the greatest single challenges in protecting underground utilities is the damage caused by excavation equipment,” said John Fiume, National Grid manager for Upstate New York Damage Prevention. “Outdoor landscaping and construction projects cause hundreds of gas and electric interruptions each year that sometimes lead to road closures and evacuations, and in more severe cases, destroy buildings or cause serious injuries or even fatalities. Don’t ever assume you know where the underground utilities are located.  Damage prevention starts with one phone call before starting any work. The law requires you to call 8-1-1 before you dig to get all the utilities marked.  Damage prevention doesn’t stop there – you still need to follow best excavation practices.”

If You Suspect a Natural Gas Leak, Call National Grid

Because “dig ins” are a leading cause of natural gas leaks, National Grid reminds customers to take the following safety actions anytime a gas leak is suspected:

  • Evacuate your home and move to a safe area.
  • Do NOT smoke, light matches or do anything to create a flame.
  • Do NOT touch any light switches or electrical equipment and do NOT pull any plugs from outlets. These items may produce a spark that might ignite the gas and cause an explosion.
  • If you have a gas range or oven, make sure the controls are turned OFF. Extinguish any easily accessible open flames such as lit candles, but never try to put out a fire you suspect may be caused by escaping gas. Leave immediately.
  • Do NOT assume someone else will report the condition.
  • Call 911 and National Grid’s gas emergency number at 1-800-892-2345 from a safe location. National Grid has crews on call 24 hours/7 days a week who will respond immediately.
  • Provide the exact location, including cross streets.
  • Let us know if construction or digging activities are going on in the area.
  • Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.


About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.

Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to our communities’ long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).

For more information please visit our website:, or our Connecting website. You can also follow us on Twitter, watch us on You Tube, like us on Facebook and find our photos on Instagram.


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