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August 18, 2015 (San Diego)-- San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has issued a reminder to the public about the importance of calling 8-1-1 before you dig. Last year, nearly 283 natural gas lines were damaged by third-party contractors or residents, which is an increase from the same time period in 2014.

Calling 8-1-1 or Underground Service Alert will help avoid possible injury or damage to hidden gas lines or service interruption (video link).

Scott Furgeson, vice president of gas operations at SDG&E, states, “Damaging a natural gas line can pose a significant safety risk and disrupt natural gas service. We ask everyone – whether digging at a construction site or at their homes -- to make the quick 8-1-1 phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility-owned lines marked for free.”

Before digging in their yard, place of business or the street, residents, business owners and 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 have them locate and mark the underground lines, pipes and cables they own. For more information about safe digging or to submit an online request, visit

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.

If you suspect a gas emergency, or have questions regarding a gas odor or carbon monoxide, 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 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


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