Planning on doing some outdoor home improvement this weekend? Whether you’re installing a swimming pool, planting a tree, or anything in between, make sure to call 811 before you dig.

There are miles of buried electric and water lines beneath the ground of OUC’s service territory. If these lines are accidentally struck, it can cause property damage, neighborhood-wide utility outages and can pose a safety risk to your household. 811 is a federally designated number that will contact your utility company on your behalf to mark your property for hidden lines.

How far in advance do I need to call? Call 811 at least two days before you plan to start digging. This gives the representative time to notify OUC to come mark any hidden lines on your property.

Once my lines are marked, how do I proceed? Dig carefully around marked lines, not on them. You should keep about a two-foot distance from marked lines.

My property was marked previously for a different project. Do I need to call 811? Yes. Because utility lines can shift due to factors like soil erosion and root growth, it is important to call 811 every time you plan on digging.

What do I do if I accidentally hit a line? Stop digging immediately and notify OUC directly for next steps by calling 407-423-9018 for Orlando/Orange County or 407-957-7373 for St. Cloud/Osceola County. If you suspect an emergency situation, such as a gas leak, call 911.

And, remember to always keep these safety tips in mind when working outside:

  • Look up before you have to look out – make sure you note any overhead power lines before starting a project.
  • Always keep tools, objects and yourself at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
  • If you see tree limbs interfering with power lines, do not attempt to trim them yourself. Call us at 407-423-9018 in Orlando/ Orange County or 407-957-7373 in St. Cloud/Osceola County, or fill out an online tree trimming request form.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that you complete your project safely and successfully.