Press Release

Can You Dig It? A simple phone call ensures a safe excavation

PSEG Long Island reminds homeowners and contractors to dial 811 to find out what utilities are buried below ground before digging

(Uniondale, NY – Aug. 2, 2019)  PSEG Long Island is encouraging customers to be aware of the importance of dialing 811 before they dig. National 811 Day, August 11 (8/11), is the day used to promote awareness of safe digging.

Whether you are a professional contractor or a weekend warrior, every digging project, no matter how small, warrants a call to 811 at least two days before work begins. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, excavating a new garden area and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects in which the law requires a call to 811.

When you call 811, you are automatically connected to the 811 Call Center, which collects information about your upcoming digging project. The 811 Call Center then provides the information to the utility companies, who will send representatives to mark the locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both, in the immediate vicinity of the planned work location. Once lines have been properly marked, you will be notified and the digging can start.

“In the last four years, damage to underground lines has dropped by nearly 50% and that’s great news,” said John O’Connell, PSEG Long Island vice president of transmission and distribution operations. “So far this year there have been more than 134,000 electric mark out requests made to 811. The calls help identify and protect the underground infrastructure around homes and buildings throughout the area.”

PSEG Long Island has more than 5,000 circuit miles of underground electric distribution and transmission lines across Long Island and in the Rockaways. In addition to the electric service lines, buried utilities can include communications cables and natural gas, water and sewer lines.

Tips for safe digging:

  • Call 811 at least two business days before each job to have underground pipes, wires and equipment located and marked.
  • Before work begins, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Do not allow work to begin if positive responses from the utility companies have not been received. Large and small projects, such as installing a fence, building a deck and planting a tree, all, by law, warrant a call to 811.
  • Property owners and contractors alike must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within two feet of marked lines or the area known as the Tolerance Zone to find the existing facility.
  • Various colors are used when marking lines; learn what each color represents at
  • If you accidentally damage gas piping or smell gas when excavating, call 911 immediately from a safe area.

If an underground, facility is struck resulting in an electrical or gas emergency:

  • Leave the area immediately and keep others away.
  • Call 911 to report the incident and the respective utility.
  • If electrical equipment was damaged, call PSEG Long Island’s electric service line at 800-490-0075.
  • If you accidentally damage gas piping or smell gas when excavating, call 911 and National Grid Long Island’s gas emergency line at 800-490-0045 immediately from a safe area.


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PSEG Long Island
PSEG Long Island operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a long-term contract. PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company.