Do it yourselfers and commercial contractors are being encouraged to get utility lines staked before starting outdoor projects.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared April to be Safe Digging Month. As the weather gets warmer, Consumers Energy is reminding anyone who has a digging project scheduled to call MISS DIG at 8-1-1 before putting tools in the ground. Public Safety Program Coordinator Chelsea Dodge said that if you are using power tools to do so, it’s more than just a suggestion, it’s a law. But they still highly recommend anyone digging with hand tools like shovels or even garden spades err on the side of safety and call.

Dodge said last year they saw almost 300 accidents in which underground Consumers Energy utilities were damaged. That number doesn’t count the additional accidents involving other utilities like water and cable. The biggest increase in residential damages last year came from fencing installation, with landscaping projects also being high on the list.

After calling MISS DIG, a representative will be out within 3 working days to mark all lines, and if the homeowner is home at the time, will be able to answer any questions they may have. If a project is scheduled to come within 4 feet of a line, Consumers Energy recommends digging carefully with hand tools or moving the project further away. The service is free, and can be scheduled by calling 8-1-1, or visiting the link below. (MK)