OGA Pipeline 2016 - 24


FEATURE

Using New
Approaches

to Proclaim the Call Before
Digging Safety Message
New, Tougher Call Before You Dig Enforcement Provisions are
Reducing Third-Party Damages to Ohio Gas Utility Lines
BY SHANE CARTMILL

A COUNTY ROAD CREW headed out on
a crisp autumn morning with the routine
task of installing an updated speed limit
sign. As the crew started to work the post
into the ground, members heard the
unmistakable hiss of natural gas escaping a punctured line.
A few months later, subcontractors in a new subdivision were planting
trees along the curb strip of the neighborhood's entry drive. Unfortunately,
their auger penetrated more than just
the  ground as it severed a natural gas
service line.
In both cases, no one was hurt and the
gas outages lasted for a short period of time.
But, there was something else - something
much more important - these two incidents
had in common.
A simple, free call to 8-1-1 and the
Ohio Utilities Protection Service (O.U.P.S.),
likely would have prevented both of
these incidents.
Since 1990, the Ohio Revised Code
has required anyone planning any type
of excavation to notify the Ohio Utility
Protection Service at least two business
days in advance, but no more than 10 days,
in advance of digging. Despite the law,
Ohio continued to experience thousands
of struck utility lines, resulting in millions
of dollars in damage and lost productivity.
More importantly, though, than the damages and lost productivity is the single most
important goal - keeping people safe.
24

"That should be the number one goal of
all utility companies, subcontractors, excavators and communities, where our customers
live and work," said Jeff Winterstein, Vice
President and General Manager of Columbia
Gas of Ohio. "In light of the recent changes to
the law, we need to proactively forge partnerships with local communities and contractors to ensure safety of customers, while also
continuing to drastically reduce damages."
"O.U.P.S. should be the first call anyone
makes for an excavation project, but we had
example after example where that wasn't
happening," said Winterstein. "With the new
law taking effect, there are very real consequences for not making the call to 8-1-1."
That new law, Ohio Senate Bill 378, which
took effect Jan. 1, 2016, provided the deterrent that was lacking from the state's existing one-call law. The legislation placed
enforcement of the damage prevention
law under Public Utilities Commission of
Ohio (PUCO) jurisdiction.

Paying Dividends
Industry officials statewide had hoped that
call volume to 8-1-1 would increase. They also
hoped damages would decrease and the
Underground Technical Committee (UTC),
which Senate Bill 378 established, would
quickly be ready to make enforcement and
education recommendations to the PUCO.
Those hopes are coming to fruition.
O.U.P.S., founded in 1972 as a nonprofit
collaboration of the Ohio Bell Telephone

Company, East Ohio Gas Company and
Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company,
fielded 13,678 excavation requests in its
first year.
Throughout the decades, the awareness
of the need for utility line locations grew.
Awareness and calls increased exponentially
with the introduction of the universal 8-1-1
phone number in March, 2005. Still, owners of underground utilities anticipated the
introduction of the new law would take the
amount of calls to O.U.P.S. to the next level.
Last year word spread in advance
of the new law and O.U.P.S. processed
1.2 million tickets and 8.3 million outgoing notifications - both new records. At
the time of this writing, calls to O.U.P.S. are
already up 16 percent in 2016. That call volume helped usher in some exciting news
for the organization: O.U.P.S. recently broke
ground on a modern and expanded facility
near Youngstown.
"We continued to outgrow our existing
facilities because of current industry conditions," said Roger Lipscomb, O.U.P.S.
President. "The increased call volume was
definitely one of the key factors that led us
to the decision that we needed more space
and room to grow in the future."
Lipscomb said that, in addition to adding customer service representatives to
handle the higher call volume, O.U.P.S. also
is increasing field staff for education and
awareness programs.
Continued on page 27
www.ohiogasassoc.org


http://www.ohiogasassoc.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of OGA Pipeline 2016

President’s Corner
Executive Roundtable
Generation to Generation: Ohio Family-Owned Gas Utilities Survive and Thrive
OGA Members Work to Refill the Jobs Pipeline in Response to Pending Retirements
Using New Approaches to Proclaim the Call Before Digging Safety Message
Vacuum Excavation Delivers Safer, More Precise Digging, Expediting Restoration, Reducing Costs
Practicing the Art of Safety: Protecting Employees Helps Protect Companies
Pipeline Spotlight: PUCO Chair Asim Z. Haque
2016 OGA Affiliate, Associate and Corporate Members Listings
2016 OGA Executive Board and Committee Listings
Index of Advertisers/Advertiser.com
OGA Pipeline 2016 - cover1
OGA Pipeline 2016 - cover2
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 3
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 4
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 5
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 6
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 7
OGA Pipeline 2016 - President’s Corner
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 9
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 10
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 11
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 12
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 13
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Executive Roundtable
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 15
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Generation to Generation: Ohio Family-Owned Gas Utilities Survive and Thrive
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 17
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 18
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 19
OGA Pipeline 2016 - OGA Members Work to Refill the Jobs Pipeline in Response to Pending Retirements
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 21
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 22
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 23
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Using New Approaches to Proclaim the Call Before Digging Safety Message
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 25
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 26
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 27
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Vacuum Excavation Delivers Safer, More Precise Digging, Expediting Restoration, Reducing Costs
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 29
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 30
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Practicing the Art of Safety: Protecting Employees Helps Protect Companies
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Pipeline Spotlight: PUCO Chair Asim Z. Haque
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 33
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 2016 OGA Affiliate, Associate and Corporate Members Listings
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 35
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 36
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 37
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 38
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 39
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 2016 OGA Executive Board and Committee Listings
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 41
OGA Pipeline 2016 - Index of Advertisers/Advertiser.com
OGA Pipeline 2016 - cover3
OGA Pipeline 2016 - cover4
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 45
OGA Pipeline 2016 - 46
OGA Pipeline 2016 - outsert1
OGA Pipeline 2016 - outsert2
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