Contact: Judy Palnau, 517-241-3323
Agency: Michigan Public Service Commission
April 19, 2012 - The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) reminds homeowners and businesses to call 811 before undertaking outdoor projects that require digging.
MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush today joined legislators and representatives of utilities and MISS DIG, Inc. at an event at the Capitol to highlight the importance of following safe digging practices.
At the event marking April as Safe Digging Month, State Sen. Mike Nofs introduced legislation that would update Public Act 53 of 1974 to, for the first time, give new enforcement authority to the MPSC, something that helps satisfy federal gas pipeline safety requirements. Under this new authority, the Commission would have the ability to hold a hearing and order civil fines of up to $5,000 for violations of the Act. In addition to - or as an alternative to any fine - the Commission may require a party to obtain reasonable training to ensure future compliance with the Act.
Before filing a complaint, parties would be required to attempt to settle the dispute through any reasonable means of attempted resolution that is acceptable to the involved parties.
"The result of adopting these - and other best practices - will be fewer injuries, less damage to important infrastructure and less loss of utility service," noted Quackenbush.
Dialing 811 in Michigan connects callers to MISS DIG, a statewide, one-call center for construction safety and utility damage prevention. Once a request is received, MISS DIG contacts local utility companies, according to the location where a caller plans to dig. Utilities will send representatives to mark the approximate location of underground lines with paint and/or staking flags within three working days. The service is free.
Each year, hundreds of dig-in accidents are caused by careless digging, which results in damage to utility lines, service interruptions, property damage, financial penalties and personal injuries, according to MISS DIG, Inc.
The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
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