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Public Service Commission
Governor Beshear Proclaims Kentucky 8-1-1 Underground Facility Protection Day
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has issued a proclamation designating today as Kentucky 8-1-1 Underground Facility Protection Day.
“Kentucky has made a concerted effort to reduce the number of incidents of excavators hitting buried utility lines,” Gov. Beshear said. “But it is clear that we still have work to do in increasing awareness of the call-before-you-dig requirements in state law and in promoting the use of the 811 statewide toll-free telephone number to request marking of buried utility lines.”
Kentucky Public Service Commission Chairman David Armstrong said that digging into buried lines is more than just a problem for utility companies.
“Such incidents often threaten public health and safety by interrupting vital services such as electricity, water or telephone,” he said. “The result also can be substantial damage to other property and, in the case of electric and gas lines, severe injury or death.”
In recent years, Kentucky has taken several steps to reduce damage to buried lines. The 811 number was adopted in 2007 as an easy-to-remember number to call to have utilities located prior to excavation. A 2008 statute expanded enforcement of laws requiring underground utility lines to be located and marked prior to most excavation or demolition activity.
Armstrong noted that dig-ins nevertheless continue to disrupt utility service. For example, a cut telephone cable left 500 Kenton County customers without service in June, some of them for nearly a week, he said.
“Losing your telephone line can compromise access to enhanced 911 emergency service, which may be available only through landline telephones,” Armstrong said. “That is much more than just an inconvenience if someone needs medical, fire or police assistance.”
Tim Vaughn, regulatory affairs director of Kentucky 811, the state’s call-before-you-dig center, thanked Gov. Beshear and the PSC for their efforts to help educate the public about the importance of protecting buried utility lines.
“Governor Beasher’s strong support and the ongoing efforts of the Kentucky Public Service Commission help us immeasurably in reinforcing the message that we convey on a daily basis to utilities, contractors and the public,” Vaughn said.
Kentucky 811 is a voluntary organization with more than 300 members, including most of Kentucky’s largest utility service providers. A call to Kentucky 811 will result in location of underground facilities owned by its members.
Kentucky 811 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To obtain locations for underground facilities owned by utility service providers that do not belong to Kentucky 811, it is necessary to notify the company directly. A list of all owners of underground utility lines may be obtained from the county clerk.
More information about Kentucky 811 is available at its website, www.kentucky811.org. To request a copy of a handbook for excavators, go the site and click on the “Ask Tim” link: http://www.kentucky811.org/contact_us.php.
The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 100 employees.