August 10, 2012
FPL urges customers to call 811 before they dig

JUNO BEACH, Fla. – At the height of summer, when outdoor projects are also at a peak, Florida Power & Light Company encourages businesses and individuals throughout Florida to make use of the free 811 service whenever they plan any outdoor work that might involve digging. Whether it’s a major construction project or a small one like installing a mailbox or planting a tree, one easy call to 811 starts the process of getting the location of underground utility lines marked, so customers will know where it’s safe to excavate. Customers should also know that utility lines run beneath canals and waterways throughout Florida and that posted warning signs regarding submarine cables should always be strictly adhered to. A call to 811 will ensure utilities are located in the water for excavation work on docks, seawalls, bridges, etc.

“At FPL, our top priority is always safety,” said Joe Heatherly, FPL’s Lead Cable Locator. “There are underground utilities that you may not even suspect are there and if you hit one of them, whether you’re using a bulldozer or a shovel, it can be dangerous.”

FPL’s annual awareness campaign highlighting underground infrastructure safety takes place in August in partnership with Sunshine 811, the organization that offers the free call service to assist customers with underground utility line marking.

Call 811 Before You Dig

Every year, excavators hit underground utility lines, injuring themselves and damaging equipment, which can cause power outages and/or environmental impact. The public should never assume they know where underground utilities are located. One free call to 811 at least two full business days before beginning a project alerts all service providers with underground lines in the vicinity of the planned excavation. Locators are then dispatched to mark the approximate location and type of underground utilities with paint and/or flags. The process is free, easy and required by law.

“FPL alone receives about 2,000 requests every day for line locating,” said Heatherly. “Florida’s big excavating companies are aware of the 811 service but we really encourage everyone to make use of it when they’re tackling those outdoor projects.”

Pipeline Safety

FPL operates pipelines in Florida to supply fuel to our power plants. These pipelines can also be damaged by careless excavation. Accidental damage caused by digging is one of the greatest threats to safe pipeline operations. This damage can be caused by excavation, directional drilling, construction, farming activities, yard work and demolition. Even minor dents, chips or scrapes are serious and may cause future leaks if the problem is not professionally repaired. Pipeline operators are especially concerned about digging around a pipeline because the release of fuels can result in damage to the environment.

FPL continuously monitors its pipelines to ensure their safe and effective operation. Public assistance to help FPL maintain the integrity and safety of its pipelines is imperative and appreciated.

“FPL operates pipelines in Florida to supply the fuel we need to operate our power plants and produce the affordable, reliable electricity we all use every day,” said Kevin Gordon, FPL’s manager of fuel infrastructure. “Pipeline security really is a community issue, and we ask the public to call 811 before they dig and be vigilant if they suspect unauthorized digging or suspected tampering near our pipelines.”

The contact numbers to report any pipeline-related issues are as follows:

  • Palm Beach, Martin, Volusia and Seminole counties: 561-844-5084
  • Manatee County: 941-776-5235
  • Broward County: 954-525-9275

Operators are available 24 hours a day.

FPL customers can visit www.FPL.com/pipelinemaps to see the locations of FPL-operated pipelines in Florida. Every year, FPL mails detailed pipeline safety information to residences and businesses located within 660 feet of its pipelines. This year, those customers will receive their information packets in August.

To learn more, visit www.FPL.com/pipelinesafety or www.FPL.com/seguridadtuberias

Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in Florida and serves the third largest number of customers of any electric utility in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.6 million customer accounts and is a leading Florida employer with approximately 10,000 employees as of year-end 2011. During the five year period ended December 31, 2011, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities, while its typical residential customer bills, based on data available in December 2011, are about 25 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com