Digging in the Yard? Watch Out For Gas Lines, The Gas Company Warns

UNITED STATES


LOS ANGELES, April 26, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- With spring in full gear and summer close behind, more and more homeowners will pursue projects in their yards, such as putting up a new wall or fence, planting a tree or putting in a swimming pool. Officials at Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) are encouraging customers to "call before they dig" to avoid hidden natural gas lines.

"This is the season when many homeowners or their hired contractors are digging on the property, and they don't realize that the gas line that serves the home is located underground and out of sight," said Mike Hale, director of gas distribution services at The Gas Company. "Safe and reliable natural gas service is our No. 1 priority. A quick phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility lines marked can help customers avoid unnecessary and costly damage, possible injury or service interruption."

The Gas Company said, in 2003 there were nearly 6,000 customer and contractor "dig ins," preventable accidents, which the company hopes will decrease through increased public awareness.

Customers should call Underground Service Alert (USA) at (800) 227-2600 at least two working days before digging in their yards. As a free service, USA will contact The Gas Company and other area utilities, and the utilities will then locate and mark their respective underground facilities.

The Gas Company-owned pipelines typically extend from the gas main, in front of or behind the home, to the gas meter.

Customer-owned natural gas 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 lines located and marked, The Gas Company advises customers to call pipe and leak locating services or plumbing contractors who provide maintenance services.

Once all lines are marked, customers should "carefully use only hand-digging tools within two feet of marked gas lines," Hale advised.

The Gas Company is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 19.2 million consumers through 5.4 million meters. The company's service territory encompasses 23,000 square miles in most of central and Southern California. The Gas Company strives to provide exceptional customer service to enhance the quality of life in the community. 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. To learn more, go to www.socalgas.com.



        

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