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Call 811 before You Dig – Customers Can Avoid Danger, Expense and Frustration April 24, 2009

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

April is Safe Digging Month across the United States.

Duke Energy reminds customers that accidental contact from digging near underground electric power lines, natural gas lines, communication lines, and other utility services can be extremely dangerous.

Problems can be avoided by calling an underground line locating service. There’s no charge for the service, and the call is toll-free. Calling before digging not only can save money from a damage claim, but it can also save lives. Now, all calls can go to one simple number – 811.

Calling 811 in Indiana and the Carolinas will connect people to their local call center, which will notify area utilities to mark the approximate location of underground lines.

In North Carolina, people can also use NC One Call Center (1-800-632-4949). The center should be contacted 48 hours in advance of any planned digging activity. In South Carolina, Palmetto Utility Protection Services (1-888-721-7877) should be contacted 72 hours before digging.

"A lot of customers don't realize they are required by law to have the underground facilities marked up to their homes," Susan Browning, a Duke Energy health and safety specialist said. “It can be very expensive for customers to repair some of the underground lines – sometimes reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars. Before hiring anyone to start digging, make sure you get a copy of the contractor’s liability insurance policy. If a line is damaged, you’ll want to make sure your contractor is fully insured to pay for the damage – so you don’t have to.”

Officials say customers need to give them at least 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) to find and mark the lines before starting to dig. The service marking all the lines in the yard is free and involves not only the gas and electric lines, but the phone and cable TV lines as well.

Duke Energy is the third largest electric power holding company in the United States, based on kilowatt-hour sales. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky -- representing a population of approximately 11 million people. Duke Energy’s commercial power and international business segments operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com/.


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