LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Southern California Gas Co. today announced a hotline that enables customers to check for buried utility lines before digging in their yards.

Simply dial 811 two days in advance of any digging project, and Underground Service Alert contacts SoCalGas and other utilities that sent out crews to mark buried lines.

“Since gas lines that serve their homes are located underground and out of sight, sometimes just inches below the surface, we urge homeowners to make a quick phone call to Underground Service Alert to have utility-owned lines marked for free,” said Bret Lane, vice president of field services for SoCalGas.

Last year, SoCalGas logged more than 2,200 preventable utility line breaks. In more than half of those cases, no one called 811 to have lines located and marked, according to the utility.

“Once all lines are marked, customers should carefully use only hand-digging tools within two feet on each side of marked gas lines,” Lane said.

SoCalGas pipelines typically extend from the gas main, in front of or behind the home, to the gas meter.

Customer-owned piping runs beyond the gas meter to a building or gas-fueled appliances.

Any damage, even slight scrapes and dings, should be reported by calling (800) 427-2200.