Don’t Get Stumped – Call 811

Don’t Get Stumped – Call 811

Now that winter is behind us and pollen season is nearly through, it’s time to step outside and get started on the yard. It continues to amaze me how many things change in the few short months I ignore my landscaping. This year, I found what amounts to a small tree growing behind my HVAC unit. As I hacked away at the 3-inch wide stump, it became apparent that I would likely have to dig it out. Fortunately, due to my many years in the utility industry, I knew what I needed to do first.

Call 811.

That’s right, before I even started looking for my shovel, I knew I’d better contact someone to mark my underground lines to ensure a safe removal of the offending vegetation. I realize you may be thinking that this is such a small project and it shouldn’t be a big deal, but you’d be wrong. As a matter of fact, you should call 811 before many do-it-yourself projects including putting in a fence, planting – or digging up – trees or shrubbery, or digging a new garden. No project is too small.

The process is easy. At least three business days before you plan on digging, dial 811. A representative will ask for the location and description of your dig and then notify the affected utility companies. The utilities will send out professional locators to mark the approximate location of the lines, and then you can start your project with peace of mind.

What happens if you don’t call 811? The truth is there’s no way to know. It may be nothing, but you may accidentally dig into an underground utility line, which can cause damage, disrupt your neighborhood service, or in some cases seriously injure or even kill you. According to, every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone didn’t call to locate underground facilities. Why risk it?

April is National Safe Digging Month. Celebrate by making the right choice and calling before you dig. Visit for more information on how to dig safely. Looking for how to save on your electrical projects and how to complete them safely? Take a look at our blog for posts on energy consumption and savings tips.

Author Jeff Straight

Jeff Straight

As a career-long veteran of the utility industry, Jeff began his journey, shortly after obtaining his bachelor’s degree in communications, by caring for customers as a call taker for his hometown electric company. After his children left the nest, he and his wife followed their dream of moving to the great state of South Carolina, where he joined Santee Cooper as a Public Relations Specialist. Jeff has been practicing jiu jitsu since 2019 and enjoys spending his time coaching children at a local gym. He’s also been playing the drums since the age of 15 and has shared the stage with several national acts over the years.