Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this



Nov. 6, 2014 (San Diego) – In response to an increase in damage to unmarked natural gas pipelines, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is reminding contractors about the importance of calling 8-1-1 before you dig. In the third-quarter of 2014, SDG&E crews repaired third-party damage to 50 natural gas lines, compared to 36 in the second quarter and 15 in the first quarter. Calling 8-1-1 or Underground Service Alert will help avoid possible injury or damage to hidden gas lines or service interruption (video link).

“This increase in natural gas pipeline damage is a significant area of concern for SDG&E,” said Jimmie I. Cho is senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity for SDG&E. “This risk can be avoided by contractors – and homeowners – making the quick call to 8-1-1 to have the utility-owned lines marked for free.”

Before digging, contractors should mark the proposed excavation area, and call 8-1-1 at least two business days before the project is scheduled to begin. Underground Service Alert will contact all local utilities for free to then locate and mark the underground lines, pipes and cables they own. For more information about safe digging or to submit an online request, visit digalert.org.

SDG&E-owned pipelines typically extend from the gas main, in front or behind the home or business, to the gas meter. Customer-owned gas pipes are the lines that run from the gas meter to the building or area where gas-fueled equipment or appliances

are located, such as a natural gas barbeque. To have these customer-owned lines located and marked before a project, SDG&E advises its customers to call pipe and leak locating service companies or licensed plumbing contractors who provide these services.

If you suspect a gas emergency, or have questions regarding a gas odor or carbon monoxide, please call SDG&E immediately at 800-411-7343. It’s important to keep in mind that natural gas is flammable and that something as simple as a spark can serve as an ignition source. Use your sense of sight, hearing and smell and any of the following signs to alert you to the presence of a gas leak:


·         Dirt or water being blown in the air.

·         Dead or dying vegetation (in an otherwise moist area) over or near pipeline areas.

·         A fire or explosion near a pipeline.

·         Exposed pipeline after an earthquake, fire, flood or other disaster.


·         An unusual sound, such as a hissing, whistling or roaring sound near a pipeline.


·         The distinctive odor of natural gas.

·         However, although we add a distinctive odor to natural gas to aid in the detection of leaks, you should not rely on your sense of smell alone to determine if you have a gas leak.

For more safety information, visit sdge.com/safety. You can also call SDG&E at 800-411-7343. To find out the approximate location of major transmission gas and liquid pipelines, visit the National Pipeline Mapping System website at npms.phmsa.dot.gov/.

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.