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PG&E and First Responders Urge Customers and Contractors to Contact 811 At Least Two Business Days before Repairing and Rebuilding in Fire-Impacted Areas

Release Date: December 05, 2017
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Pacific Gas &Electric Company (PG&E) has received hundreds of customer requests for new electric and gas service in wildfire-impacted communities, signaling the rebuilding process has begun in the aftermath of the extraordinary October 2017 Northern California Wildfires. With more than 300 service requests in Santa Rosa, PG&E and the Santa Rosa Fire Department urge all customers to use 811. It's a free underground utility markings service to avoid damage to critical electric, gas, water and telecommunications infrastructure.

"Safety is PG&E's top priority as customers begin to recover from the extraordinary wildfires. With local first responders, we urge every customer who plans to dig or excavate to take every precaution and get underground utility lines marked. The process of rebuilding can be challenging and we want to make sure your interaction with 811 is one of the fastest steps along the way. Whether you're replacing a fence, planting a tree or building a structure from the ground up, we need our customers or their contractor to take five minutes to contact 811. The free service saves lives and keeps communities safe," PG&E President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Stavropoulos said.

Here are the five key facts about 811 for customers starting construction or in the process of making their plans to rebuild:

  • Customers, excavators and contractors should take a moment and click on from a desktop, mobile phone or tablet or call 811 prior to digging.
  • Go online or call at least two business days before work is scheduled to begin.
  • Mark the area where digging will occur by using white chalk, paint, flags or even flour to outline the area so PG&E's locate-and-mark specialists know where to look.
  • PG&E will prioritize all requests in wildfire-impacted areas and dispatch representatives to mark gas and electric lines as quickly as possible.
  • State law requires contractors and excavators in California to obtain a valid Underground Service Alert ticket through 811. Customers performing work themselves also are urged to contact the free 811 service before digging to ensure safety.

"As residents start to repair their homes and rebuild, we're encouraging homeowners or their contractors to call 811 as it's an easy way to ensure that any digging or excavation project is safe for their property and the neighborhood. Along with PG&E, we are helping to get the word out because an accidental strike on an underground line could potentially become a public safety hazard," said Paul Lowenthal, Assistant Fire Marshal at the Santa Rosa Fire Department, who is leading a city and county joint task force that oversees all fire debris removal in Sonoma County.

About 811 – Free Underground Utility Marking Service

811 is a free nationwide service that dispatches local energy companies to mark the presence of underground lines, including electric, gas, water and telecommunications services. USA North, which operates 811 in PG&E's service area, created to reduce demand to the 811 helpline and provide a convenient, round-the-clock way for the public to request utility markings before excavation.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the residents whose properties were damaged during the wildfires, and we want to make the process of contacting 811 as seamless as possible. With, residents and contractors can request utility markings and a USA ticket at any hour. We've also taken steps to ensure services are more accessible to Spanish-language residents by hiring bilingual operators. Our goal is to keep residents safe, and we want to remove any barriers to you getting underground utilities marked for safe digging," USA North Executive Director James Wingate said.

Contractors are required by law to contact 811 at least two working days prior to excavation. Failing to request a USA ticket could create a possible safety hazard, result in costly fines, cause project delays and put demands on first responders who may be required to secure the area.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and


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