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Safe gardening and landscaping means contacting 8-1-1 first

With many North Dakotans staying home and working from home, many may use this extra time for do-it-yourself projects that involve digging in their yards. Xcel Energy reminds customers that April is National Safe Digging Month and customers should contact 8-1-1 to have underground utility lines marked before beginning any digging projects.

Xcel Energy had nearly 20 incidents last year in North Dakota when buried gas and electric lines were damaged during excavation and not located beforehand. Damaging or striking a single line can create a dangerous situation, cause injury, or result in repair costs, fines and outages.

Homeowners and contractors should call 8-1-1 or submit an online request to North Dakota One Call at least two business days in advance of a planned project to have underground utility lines marked in your digging location. Every digging project, large or small, warrants contacting 8-1-1. Installing a post for a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree are all examples of projects that need utility lines marked before digging.

North Dakota One Call will notify the appropriate utility companies of the caller’s intent to dig. At no charge, professional locators will mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. When locators from Xcel Energy visit a location, they will be wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment and will have no need to interact with customers or enter their homes. Customers are also asked to please avoid approaching employees and continue practicing social distancing.

Customers need to make arrangements with a private locate company to locate lines not owned by a utility, such as a line installed by a homeowner to heat a pool or light a garage.

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