News Release

Tampa Electric Reminds Homeowners to Call 811 Before Planting Trees this Earth Day and Arbor Day

More Florida residents are working on yard projects while staying safe at home

TAMPA, April 20, 2021

Tampa Electric recognizes that many people will plant trees for Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 30) projects, and just like any other planting or outdoor improvement projects, it is important for Floridians to call 811 at least two business days before they start digging.

Throughout April, Sunshine 811, Tampa Electric and other utilities are promoting National Safe Digging Month. The campaign is designed to remind Florida’s residents of the network of wires, cables and pipelines located underground, and often closer to the surface than you might think. Striking one of these underground utility lines while digging could result in loss of electric, natural gas, water or communications and cable services, injure you or others, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.

A national survey recently showed that 1 in 3 U.S. homeowners experienced a construction-related utility service interruption during the pandemic. When homeowners forget to call 811 before digging, they run the risk of damaging their own service lines. When excavators don’t follow safe digging practices, the impact is much greater – hundreds of residents and businesses can lose utility service from just one hit line.

Tampa Electric has a team of locators who visit job sites and mark underground power lines around homes and businesses – but only if there’s a call to 811 to alert them. In 2020, they responded to nearly 150,000 requests – with even more this year, as more homeowners are working in their yards during the pandemic.

One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for Sunshine 811 to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Here are some tips to remember:

  •  Call at least two full business days before digging, to give utility companies enough time to properly mark their lines. When you call 811, you will be asked for the location and description of your digging project.
  •  Doing a small project at a single address? Sunshine 811 has an easy online entry system. Visit sunshine811.com and click on Single Address Ticket.
  •  Sunshine 811 notifies affected utility companies, who then send a professional locator to mark the approximate location of underground equipment for free.
  •  Check the Sunshine 811 Positive Response link at sunshine811.com and, once all utilities have responded, roll up those sleeves and dig carefully within 24 inches of any marks in your project area.
  •  Even if you are not digging, remember to leave any markers – paint or flags – in place. They are a sign of work that may be coming soon to your area by a utility or contractor.

Visit sunshine811.com or tampaelectric.com for more information about safe digging.

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 800,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Tampa Electric is an Emera company.
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