GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- - As temperatures have increased with the changing seasons, causing residents to be outside doing some landscaping, April has been dedicated as National Safe Digging Month.
Utility companies, like Xcel Energy, encourage residents, as well as contractors to call 811 to locate underground utilities before digging. Last year, with Xcel Energy experiencing roughly 1,400 incidents of damaged utility lines, which was 3.8% higher than 2015, they hope to see a decrease in incidents for 2017.
Colorado 811 spokespeople said digging before you call can not only create a dangerous situation and injury, it can also result in civil penalties and fines. Whitney Cregger with Colorado 811 further explained, "not only are there civil penalties, but if someone damages a utility, they might...receive a bill and have to pay for outages, loss of product, down time..."
Kelly Flenniken, Area Manager for Xcel Energy, wanted to also remind residents, "if you dig today and then you have another project next year...you do need to still call and get those locates made and done again for you."
To help promote safe digging, Colorado 811 has spread the word through Twitter and Facebook posts, as well as hanging banners around to state.