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Montana Public Service Commission Highlights ‘Safe Digging Month’

The Montana Public Service Commission, in cooperation with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, is highlighting April as “Safe Digging Month” in Montana and across the United States.

“The Montana Public Service Commission is reminding all Montanans to call 811 before digging at home or work,” said PSC president James Brown adding, “Safe Digging Month can prevent accidents and utility interruptions if all Montanans will call 811 before engaging in any outdoor digging projects.”

A recent national survey released by the Common Ground Alliance, sponsor of Safe Digging Month, shows that more than half of U.S. homeowners plan to complete an outdoor do-it-yourself project that involves digging in the next year, but 26.9 million Americans do not plan to notify 811 ahead of their next project, putting themselves and their communities at risk by not contacting 811 before digging.

The spring season inevitably brings with it an increase in outdoor projects that can result in hitting buried utility lines. The Montana PSC strongly urges anyone undertaking outdoor residential or business projects to call 811 beforehand. The costs of striking and damaging underground gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines in the U.S. is billions of dollars annually. A simple call can help prevent these issues and avoid serious health risks.

According to CGA, when asked why homeowners aren’t planning to call 811, the top reasons are related to beliefs around shallow digging and unfamiliarity with the 811 notification process. Even small projects like planting a garden or installing a mailbox or post light require homeowners to contact 811 because many utilities are buried just a few inches below ground.

Hitting buried utility lines can be avoided by reaching out to the 811 One–Call service, available in every state, several days in advance of beginning any excavation or digging project, including small yard projects. NARUC and its members — state public service commissions — will continue to raise awareness on the need for safe digging practices throughout the month of April.

Information on each state’s safe digging program and contacts are available at bit. ly/SafeDiggingMap.

The commission regulates private investor-owned natural gas, electric, telephone, water, and sewer companies, certain motor carriers, and oversees natural gas pipeline safety and intrastate railroad safety. The Commission works to ensure that Montanans receive safe and reliable service from regulated public utilities while paying reasonable rates.

For more information, visit or contact the Commission at 1-800-6466150. Follow the Commission at or visit

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