8/10/2010
AEP Texas Reminds Electricity Users
To Always Call 811 Before Digging

AUSTIN, Texas (Aug.10, 2010) – AEP Texas urges all electricity users to use the 8/11 calendar date as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. The need for this reminder is reinforced by a recent report from the Common Ground Alliance, which determined an underground utility line is damaged during digging projects once every three minutes nationwide.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. Striking a single line can cause death or injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting. Callers should contact the 811 Call Center at least two days prior to any planned digging. In some areas, the 811 phone number may not work, and in these cases, please call 800-344-8377.

“On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to greatly reduce the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said David Hooper, vice-president of Distribution Services for AEP Texas. “Failure to call before digging results in more than 60,000 unintentional contacts with underground utility lines annually. We value the safety of our customers and our employees and do not want anyone’s project to become part of this troubling statistic.”

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

AEP Texas has a free informational video on the 811 process. To view or order a copy of the video via the internet, the following link can be used: https://www.aeptexas.com/safety/CallBeforeYouDig.aspx. For more information about 811 and safe digging practices, you also can visit www.call811.com.

AEP Texas, a unit of American Electric Power, delivers electricity to 900,000 homes, businesses and industries in west and south Texas. AEP Texas provides regulated energy delivery service to consumers, regardless of which Retail Electric Provider they choose. Its headquarters is in Corpus Christi.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Texas, AEP Ohio, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Larry Jones
AEP Texas Corporate Communications
512 391-2970 - Office
512 203-4916 - Cell Phone

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