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Keeping customers safe: Black Hills Energy offers 5 tips to avoid hidden risks in Colorado
man planting tree

PUEBLO, COLORADO – August 7, 2023 – It’s an activity on the rise in summer months that many homeowners and businesses do, but they’re unknowingly putting themselves and others in a dangerous situation. Digging without locates could result in costly fines, damage to property, or result in harm to yourself and others.

That’s why Black Hills Energy is working with communities to recognize Aug. 11 as 811 Day, an opportunity to urge residents to call 811 at least two business days prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Summer months are heightened times for working outside and hit lines, making it incredibly important for everyone to focus on being safe.

“Our most important responsibility is the safety of our customers, employees, and the communities we serve. That includes safe digging any time of year,” said Kellie Ashcraft, Black Hills Energy vice president of Colorado operations. “On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to use the free 811 service before digging to reduce the risk of striking an underground utility line. As we continue to rely on important utilities to keep us connected and safe, calling 811 or visiting is really the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you can dig safely.”

Black Hills Energy reminds you:

  1. Call or Click Before You Dig. Always “Call or Click Before You Dig” at least two working days in advance to have utility lines marked.  You can call 811 toll-free or schedule online at
  2. At no charge to you, utility locators will respond within two business days to mark the approximate location of buried utility lines at your site with color-coded paint or flags.
  3. Mark Your Planned Excavation Site. Using white spray paint, stakes, or flags to mark the area around your planned excavation site before you call. “White-lining” helps the utility locator understand your plan and reduces the chance of project delays if the utility locator must return to locate additional areas.
  4. Respect the Marks. Always dig with care and use a shovel within 18 to 24 inches of any utility lines as opposed to using heavy equipment. Just a nick can create a weak spot that may develop into a gas leak, cause an electrical or internet outage or result in injury.
  5. Don’t Rely on Old Line Locate Marks. If you don’t dig within 10 days of having utility lines marked, contact Colorado 811 again. At no charge, utility locators will gladly return to re-mark the lines as quickly as possible. Never rely on outdated information.   

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Colorado 811, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, or planting a tree are examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting. Requests can also be made online at at no cost to you. Professional utility locators will arrive at the digging site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Every few minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811. Striking a single line can result in injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages, and fines. For every digging project, no matter how large or small, call or click 811 – it’s free, it’s safe, and it’s the law. Visit or and click on “Call 811 before you dig” for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.

Black Hills Energy News