May 09, 2018

May is National Electrical Safety Month

Stay safe and call before you dig

May is National Electrical Safety Month


Nice weather frequently brings outdoor construction, yard work, and planting projects. During National Electrical Safety Month, Otter Tail Power Company reminds customers and neighbors to call 811 before digging to prevent unintentionally hitting underground utility lines.

Every digging project—whether rural or urban, large or small—requires a call to the national 811 One Call center at least 48 hours before you start. This means calling no later than Wednesday for a weekend project. When you dial 811, you’ll connect with the state’s One Call center, which will notify the appropriate utility companies. Be prepared to give the location and start time of your dig activities. Each affected utility company will send a professional locator to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and/or paint.

Utility line depths can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces. “Digging only a few inches creates the risk of striking an underground utility line, which can cause injury and may require repair costs and fines,” said Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Greg Overland. “Unsafe digging can compromise community safety and disconnect people from critical services.”

Your call to 811 and the locating services are free. Don’t risk damaging your underground utility lines and causing needless electricity, cable TV, telephone, high-speed Internet, and water and sewer outages. “Always call 811 before you begin outdoor projects like planting trees or shrubs, establishing a new garden, digging footings for your new garage, burying a water line, erecting a fence, or building a new deck or patio. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s the law,” said Overland.

Each state has its own rules and regulations. Contact your state’s One Call center for more information.

Minnesota: 800-252-1166 or

North Dakota: 800-795-0555 or

South Dakota: 800-781-7474 or