National Grid Urges Customers To Call Before You Dig, It’s the Law

By Virginia Limmiatis

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – August 11 (8-11), is National 811 Safe Digging Day, and National Grid is reminding customers that every digging project, no matter how large or small, always requires a call to 811. Whether you’re a professional excavator or a weekend warrior a simple phone call can potentially avert tragedy and help to prevent damages to utilities, minimize service disruptions, and reduce potential fines and repair costs.

Nationally every six minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone didn’t contact 811 before digging. Striking a single underground utility line can cause injury, repair costs, fines, and inconvenient outages. Knowing where underground utility lines are buried before you dig will help protect you and your family from injury.

In 2016 in upstate New York, there were 304 natural gas or electrical network incidents caused by damage to the system. These events can cause natural gas leaks, electrical outages and other emergencies that can be prevented by taking a few precautions before digging.

“It is critically important to call 8-1-1 before you dig to get all utilities marked,” said Robert De Marinis, National Grid vice president of New York Gas Operations. “Damage to vital utility services by excavation equipment results in hundreds of interruptions each year and disrupts residents and businesses in our communities. In some cases, the consequences are even more severe, including destroyed property, serious injuries or even fatalities.”

The depth of utility lines varies, and there may be multiple utility lines in one common area.  A quick phone call to 811 at least two 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.

Whether you’re planting a tree or shrub, or installing a deck or pool, every job requires a call to 811 to know what’s below before digging.  State laws mandate that 811 be called several days in advance of beginning projects that require excavation.  Failure to call 811 may be punishable by fines, but even more important, calling 811 is the right thing to do because it helps keep everyone safe by preventing potentially deadly contact with underground electricity and gas lines.


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 from a safe location at 1-800-892-2345. 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 sewer 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, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company that supplies the energy for more than 20 million people 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 systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.

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. Read more about the innovative projects happening across our footprint in The Democratization of Energy, an eBook written by National Grid’s US president, Dean Seavers.

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


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