Before you dig call 811

UNDATED – Spring is here and people are excited to get outdoors to plant trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as begin those outdoor construction projects that make homes more comfortable.

But before planting, make an important call to 811, the national “Call Before You Dig” hotline, and ask that the underground utilities on your property be properly located and marked.

“Calling 811 before digging anywhere prevents damage to underground utilities, prevents potential personal injury, and avoids electric and other utility outages,” said Scott Batson, Duke Energy senior vice president, and chief distribution officer. “It also helps avoid costly repairs for the offenders.”

Calling 811 is a free nationwide service. Contractors, homeowners, business owners, and anyone preparing for a digging project of any kind should call 811 at least three business days before digging begins. The local utilities will then send a crew to mark underground lines in the area (electric, natural gas, water, sewer, phone, cable TV, and others) with above-ground stakes, flags, or paint, which indicates restricted areas before a customer begins a digging project.

In 2019, the U.S. Common Ground Alliance reported approximately 532,000 excavation-related damage events in the U.S., an increase of 14 percent from 2018, the latest year for which figures are available. Estimated damages in 2019 total approximately $30 billion in direct and indirect losses.

In 2020, Duke Energy reported approximately 2,800 damage-causing dig-in events in its six-state electric service territory. In Indiana, the number was 138.

For more information about the Call Before You Dig system in Indiana, visit