Safe gardening and landscaping means calling 8-1-1 first

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency recently installed a solar array at North High School as part of the Hometown Solar Grant program. submitted photo

As people begin their annual spring traditions of gardening and landscaping, Xcel Energy reminds customers that April is National Safe Digging Month.  To be safe, customers should call 8-1-1 to have underground utility lines marked before beginning any digging projects.

Damaging or striking a single line can create a dangerous situation, cause injury, or result in repair costs, fines and outages. In Minnesota, homeowners and contractors should call 8-1-1 or submit an online request to Gopher State One Call at  at least two business days in advance of a planned project. Every digging project, large or small, warrants a call. Installing a post for a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree are all examples of projects that need a call to 8-1-1.

 Gopher State One Call will notify the appropriate utility companies of the caller’s intent to dig. At no charge, professional locators will mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Xcel Energy had nearly 120 incidents last year in Minnesota when buried gas and electric lines were damaged during excavation and not located beforehand. Roughly 30 percent of the cases were caused by homeowners who didn’t call 8-1-1 before beginning their project.

Customers need to make arrangements with a private locate company to locate lines not owned by a utility, such as a line installed by a homeowner to heat a pool or light a garage.

For more information about 8-1-1 and safe digging practices visit or 


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