SOURCE: Southern California Gas Company

Southern California Gas Company

April 29, 2010 13:57 ET

Working in the Garden This Spring? Watch Out for Buried Gas Lines, The Gas Company Warns

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - April 29, 2010) -  Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) 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 field services for The Gas Company. "Since gas lines that serve their homes are located underground and out of sight, sometimes just inches below the surface, we urge homeowners to make a quick phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility-owned lines 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 2,600 customer and contractor preventable accidents last year caused by "dig-ins," 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 business 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 on each side of marked gas lines," Lane said.

No damage is too small to report. Even a slight gouge, scrape or dent to a pipeline or coating may cause a break or leak in the future. If a customer causes what seems to be only minor damage to a pipeline, or any component attached to the pipeline, they should still notify The Gas Company immediately by calling 1-800-427-2200.

Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.5 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. 

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