Aug. 11 (8/11) serves as convenient reminder from SWEPCO to always call 811 before digging

SHREVEPORT, La. (Aug. 9, 2010) – Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) says the upcoming calendar date, Aug. 11 or 8/11, can  serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 prior to any digging project so that underground utility lines can be marked. This reminder comes on the heels of a recent report by Common Ground Alliance, which determined that an underground utility line is damaged during digging projects once every three minutes nationwide.

Homeowners and contractors who call 811 are connected to the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. SWEPCO marks only the lines owned by the company. Please note:  SWEPCO customers own the underground electric services on their property. Customers should contact a licensed electrical contractor to locate these customer-owned lines prior to digging.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

SWEPCO has a free informational video on the 811 process. To view or order a copy of the video, follow this link:  https://swepco.com/safety/CallBeforeYouDig.aspx  For more information about 811 and safe digging practices, you also can visit www.call811.com

(In some remote areas, 811 may not work yet. In these situations continue to use these one-call numbers:  Arkansas – 800-482-8998; Louisiana – 800-272-3020; and Texas – 800-344-8377.)

SWEPCO, a unit of American Electric Power, serves 113,500 customers in Arkansas, along with 180,000 in Northwest Louisiana and 180,000 in East and North Texas for a total of more than 473,500. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La.  News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at www.swepco.com

Scott McCloud, 318-673-3532
Kacee Kirschvink, 318-673-3394
Peter Main, 479-973-2526