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March 30, 2009 (San Diego) – Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy in San Diego, is encouraging customers to “call 811 before they dig” to avoid damaging buried natural gas lines when pursuing projects in their yard, such as putting up a new wall or fence, planting or re-working landscaping, putting in a swimming pool, or other yard renovations. 

“During the warmer months, many homeowners begin projects which require digging on their property,” said J. Bret Lane, vice president of gas transmission and distribution for The Gas Company.  “Since gas lines that serve their homes are located underground and out of sight, we urge homeowners to make a quick phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utilities marked for free.  This will help them avoid unnecessary and costly damage, possible injury or service interruption.”

According to The Gas Company, there were nearly 3,500 customer and contractor “dig-ins,” preventable accidents last year, which the company hopes will decrease this year through increased public awareness.

Customers should call Underground Service Alert by simply dialing 8-1-1 at least two working days before digging in their yard.  As a free service, Underground Service Alert will contact The Gas Company and other area utilities.  Each utility will then locate and mark the underground facilities they own.

Gas Company-owned pipelines typically extend from the gas main, in front of or behind the home, to the gas meter.  Customer-owned piping is the line that runs beyond the gas meter to a building or area where gas-fueled equipment or appliances are located.  To have these customer-owned lines located and marked, The Gas Company advises customers to call pipe and leak locating service companies or plumbing contractors who provide maintenance services.

"Once all lines are marked, customers should carefully use only hand-digging tools within two feet of marked gas lines,” Lane said.

For more safety information, visit The Gas Company’s Web site at, or call (800) 427-2200.

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