July 31, 2008

“Call Before You Dig” Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Today, July 31, marks the 30th anniversary of the Utilities Underground Location Center (UULC), the "Call Before You Dig" non-profit organization, which provides one-call service to more than 1,000 utilities in Washington and Montana.

Established in 1978 by five Seattle-area utilities, including Puget Sound Energy (PSE) predecessor companies Washington Natural Gas and Puget Sound Power & Light, the UULC has processed more than 6 million calls from homeowners, renters and businesses requesting underground natural gas, electric, water, sewer, and cable line locates during the past 30 years.

"The UULC has grown in leaps and bounds since its initial years when locate requests were recorded through teletype machines and the organization worked out of the basement of the Washington Natural Gas Building," said Jerry Henry, PSE's senior advisor to the chairman and one of the "Call Before You Dig" pioneers. "Puget Sound Energy is proud to have partnered with 'Call Before You Dig' and other local utilities these last 30 years to promote customer safety and prevent line damage."

Since 2002, PSE alone has responded to nearly 2 million locate requests, with more than 950,000 for natural gas line locates and approximately 900,000 for buried power line locates. Annually, PSE still experiences approximately 3,100 dig-ups of its utility system, which has more than 11,700 miles of buried natural gas lines and nearly 10,000 miles of underground power lines.

"We constantly work to remind people to call before they dig," said Henry. "It keeps us all safe and also saves time and money."

The UULC is one of three "Call Before You Dig" committees in Washington state, with a service area that includes the Puget Sound region, scattered parts of Central and Eastern Washington, and nearly all of Montana, except for Flathead and Lincoln counties. The committee was formed in 1978 in response to the Washington state law RCW 19.122 requiring anyone engaging in digging or excavation work to call 811 (effective in 2007) or 1-800-424-5555 to contact the One Call Center for locates at least two business days prior to digging.

Homeowners, renters and businesses can also log on to www.callbeforeyoudig.org to make a request online. After the request is made, a utility representative will physically mark the location of underground utilities, such as natural gas pipes (yellow marking), buried power lines (red), drinking water (blue), non-drinking water (purple), sewer lines (green) and television and telephone cables (orange) at no charge. This helps those digging to avoid hitting these vital lines.

For more information on the UULC visit www.callbeforeyoudig.com. To request a locate or for more information on the One Call Center, visit www.callbeforeyoudig.org. For information about PSE, visit www.pse.com.

About Puget Sound Energy

Washington state's oldest and largest energy utility, with a 6,000-square-mile service area stretching across 11 counties, PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and nearly 735,000 natural gas customers, primarily in Western Washington. PSE meets the energy needs of its growing customer base through incremental, cost-effective energy efficiency, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in the energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service to deliver energy that is safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible. For more information, visit www.PSE.com.