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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 27, 2004
CONTACT: Sue Schaefer, (605) 773-3201

South Dakotans encouraged to call the One Call Center before excavating

PIERRE, S.D. – The Public Utilities Commission is encouraging all South Dakotans to call "OneCall" before attempting any excavation after an accidental Qwest fiber cut near Murdo last Thursday interrupted long distance phone service in many west river communities. The unplanned cut caused long distance phone interruptions that also affected ATM and credit card transactions last Thursday afternoon.

"Whether you're excavating for a large construction project or just digging post holes, you need to remember to call South Dakota OneCall at least 48 hours in advance so that utilities can be located," advises Chairman Bob Sahr. "Do not begin any digging until your underground utilities have been located."

"Failure to have facilities located can result not only in serious injury to the individual doing the digging, but also may cause a disruption of service for many residents," said Vice Chairman Gary Hanson. "Remembering to use the Toll-Free South Dakota OneCall number (1-800-781-7474) can not only save your own life but can also save the lives of others by keeping our basic utilities operating, whether it means our phones, electricity or natural gas infrastructures."

Commissioner Jim Burg also reminds South Dakotans to be mindful when contemplating home landscaping or repair projects. "Be on the lookout for underground utility lines when installing a new fence, whether it's around your yard or out in your field. Make sure the electrical service to your home is shut off when working on your roof or making exterior repairs or improvements."

The public needs to remember two important phrases when working around power, natural gas, and telecommunications lines. "Dig Safely" and "Look Up and Live."

"Dig Safely" means taking care to avoid underground utilities, such as electricity, natural gas, or expensive fiber communications. "Look Up and Live" refers to understanding the dangers of overhead power lines and the dangers in coming in contact with them. You must call South Dakota OneCall two working days before starting any excavation project by calling 1-800-781-7474.

For more information, South Dakotans are encouraged to contact South Dakota OneCall at 1-800-781-7474, or the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission at 1-800-332-1782.