Digging for Gold or Just to Garden: Start by Calling 811

For National 811 Day, PSE&G reminds the public to make the free call and help prevent utility emergencies

(NEWARK, N.J. – August 4, 2023) August 11 is almost here, and PSE&G hopes that the 8/11 calendar date will serve as a natural reminder to customers that everyone is required, by law, to dial 811 before starting an improvement project that involves digging. Hitting a buried electric, gas, water or cable line while digging can disrupt utility service, cost money to repair and cause severe injury or death. One free call to 811 will ensure customers "know what’s below" before beginning any digging projects.  

“Keeping our communities safe through this easy to comply with, and free, service is key to ensure everyone’s safety. We need help spreading the word about ‘Call 811’ because hundreds of people and contractors continue to dig each year without checking first,” said Chelsey Gaworecki, process analyst, for PSE&G Gas Distribution & Field Construction. “Last year, PSE&G responded to 835 calls concerning excavating damages (719 gas, 116 electric). Many of the damages, which can cause utility service interruptions and traffic conditions while repairs are made, are completely avoidable. A call to 811 is the safe, smart thing to do and it is the law.”

Every digging project, no matter how small, requires a call to 811 at least three, and no more than 10, business days before work begins. 811 is the designated national dialing code to have underground lines located and marked out before improvement work begins around the home or business. For all projects, even planting a flowerbed, installing a mailbox or fence, or putting in an aboveground pool, it is imperative to call 811 beforehand. 

When you call 811, you are automatically connected to New Jersey One Call, which collects information about your upcoming digging project. The information is provided to utility companies, who send representatives to mark the locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. Once lines have been properly marked, you will be notified and the digging can begin. 

Prevention is key:

  • Call 811 at least three and no more than 10 business days before each job to have underground pipes, conduits, wires and cables located and marked. Markouts remain valid for 45 business days.
  • Before work begins by excavators, contractors or customers, confirm that a call to 811 has been made and the markout was completed. By law, all digging projects require a call to 811.
  • Both property owners and contractors must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within 2 feet of marked lines, or the area known as the Tolerance Zone, to find the existing facility.
  • Various colors are used when marking lines; to learn what each color represents, visit https://www.nj1-call.org/resources/faqs/#color.


What to do if you smell gas:

  • Leave the building as quickly as possible and move 350 feet away from the structure. Take all others with you. If you smell gas outside, move well away from where you suspect the gas is leaking. 
  • Call 911 immediately and call PSE&G at 1-800-880-PSEG (7734). (Do NOT call from inside the building. Wait until you are outside and a safe distance to call.)


More information about 811 is available at nj1-call.org or on the PSE&G website: pseg.com/safedigging. #Call811 #CallBeforeYouDig

Public Service Electric & Gas Co. is New Jersey’s oldest and largest gas and electric delivery public utility, as well as one of the nation’s largest utilities. PSE&G is the 2022 Edison Award recipient from the Edison Electric Institute. PSE&G has won the ReliabilityOne® Award for superior electric system reliability in the Mid-Atlantic region for 21 consecutive years. For the second consecutive year, PSE&G is the recipient of the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award in the Energy Efficiency Program Delivery category. In addition, J.D. Power named PSE&G number one in customer satisfaction for both Residential Electric and Natural Gas Service in the East among Large Utilities.