For Immediate Release
Contact:  Matt Schilling
(614) 466 7750

PUCO to enforce underground damage prevention laws beginning January 2016

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Dec. 23, 2015) – Enforcement of Ohio’s underground protection laws begins on Jan. 1, 2016. Commercial excavators, utility operators, designers and developers who fail to follow safe digging practices may be subject to penalties and fines. Enforcement does not apply to homeowners.

A new state law created the Underground Technical Committee (UTC) to increase public safety by ensuring that anyone excavating or operating underground facilities follows safe digging practices.

Beginning Jan.1, 2016, the UTC will review complaints regarding excavation violations, determine if a compliance failure occurred and recommend a course of action to the PUCO. The PUCO will enforce UTC recommendations.

The PUCO will invoice those required to pay a registration fee of up to $50 annually. Failure to register may result in a fine of up to $2,500. The Ohio Utilities Protection Service and Ohio Oil & Gas Producers Underground Protection Service remain the primary contacts for Ohioans who are planning excavations.

Before any digging project, Ohioans must call 8-1-1 to have underground facilities marked. Additional information about underground protection enforcement may be found here.

For more information about underground damage prevention, visit the PUCO website at www.PUCO.ohio.gov.

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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.

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