Page 17 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 2
P. 17

Don’t Forget About the Underground Power Lines
I By Roger Cox, President ACTS Now, Inc.
read the other day that the U.S. electrical grid is the largest interconnected machine on Earth. It consists of more than 450,000
miles of high-voltage transmission lines and 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines, linking thousands of generating plants to factories, homes and businesses.
Much of this power grid was built over a hundred years ago and a lot of the current infrastructure is over fifty years old. The current grid is vulnerable to weather, natural disasters, Electro- Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons and cyber-attack.
While most of that is beyond the average person’s pay grade, what is within our control (for the most part) is how we decide to excavate near the ever-growing number of underground utility lines and especially power lines.
When there’s an outage, it’s inconvenient, sometimes for tens and thousands of users. But the greatest concern is not the inconvenience, nor
even the outage; it is the attack on safety for the general public and for the workers at the job site.
Because many utility lines are buried underground, it’s easy to forget they
are there and that they really are the framework of our lives. That’s why
we must be careful about digging anywhere. Until we have underground utilities located and identified by the utility or its locating representative, we don’t know what’s under the ground nor what might be disrupted. It’s important to know the risks and how to avoid getting injured from accidental contact with these buried lines. The most obvious and unfortunate cost of contact with power lines or gas pipelines is injury or death
Of course, the way to get the underground utilities located and identified is to contact 811 before you dig. Whether a professional excavator or homeowner, let the professionals at Alabama 811 get in touch with the right personnel at the utility company. By
doing so, the utility company can send a professional to locate the approximate location of the underground line before you get there. Not only can that save you time and money, but can be the difference maker as to whether you or your employees get the opportunity to go home after the job.
Yes sir, we all owe our friends at the electric cooperatives, publicly-owned and privately-owned power companies a debt of gratitude for keeping the current flowing in the most adverse weather conditions. Protecting their underground infrastructure is serious business with them because they know the potential consequences of accidental contact with their utility lines.
Let’s do our part in helping them keep the lights on by contacting 811 before we dig and we give them the chance
to help us remain safe until we move safely away from the danger of digging into their buried lines.
2022, Issue 2
Alabama 811 • 15

   15   16   17   18   19