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April is Safe Digging Month in Illinois

April is Safe Digging Month in Illinois, and the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is reminding citizens they can help reduce utility outages and accidents by calling 811. With temperatures starting to rise, this annual proclamation is a reminder to all professional excavators and homeowners to call 811 to safely locate and mark utility lines before starting a digging project.

“With the days getting longer and warmer, digging season is upon us. Whether you plan to install a new mailbox or start a home addition, be sure to call 811 to have nearby utility lines marked for free before you dig,” said ICC Chairman Doug Scott. “Hitting a utility line can not only causes service outages, but potentially lead to injury or death.”

Illinois law requires all homeowners and professional excavators to call JULIE, the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators, at the statewide number 811 before digging at least 48 hours or two working days prior to starting excavation. The project must begin within 14 calendar days from the call, and locate requests have a 28-day life. The State One-Call Center, managed by JULIE and DIGGER within the City of Chicago, is a 24-hour service network system established to prevent contractors and private citizens from hitting any existing utility lines while digging. JULIE has been protecting Illinoisans for 50 years.

Underground utility line can be unintentionally damaged by those who fail to request the lines be located and marked before digging. Homeowners and excavators may also face penalties for not making the 811 call, and utilities may be cited or fined for failing to mark lines in a timely manner.

The ICC is responsible for enforcement of the Illinois Underground Utilities Facilities Damage Prevent Act, referred to as the Illinois One-Call or JULIE law. In 2023, ICC Staff issued 127 warnings and 709 citations for safe digging violations, resulting in $4,104,255 in penalties assessed.

For more information, visit the ICC’s website at Illinois Commerce CommissionJULIE’s website at JULIE Before You Dig, or 811 City of Chicago.

About the Illinois Commerce Commission

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is a quasi-judicial body made up of five Commissioners. Through its Public Utility Program, the Commission oversees the provision of adequate, reliable, efficient, and safe utility services at the least possible cost to Illinois citizens served by electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, and sewer public utility companies. Through its Transportation Regulatory Program, the Commission oversees public safety and consumer protection programs with regard to intrastate commercial motor carriers of general freight, household goods movers, relocation towers, safety towers, personal property warehouses and repossession agencies. The Commission’s Rail Safety Program also inspects and regulates the general safety of railroad tracks, facilities, and equipment in the state.

To learn more about the Commission, its offices, and bureaus, click here. If you are a consumer who needs help resolving a utility dispute call 800-524-0795 or file an online complaint here. For a complaint related to transportation, call 217-782-6448.

Follow the Illinois Commerce Commission on social media @ILCommerceComm.

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