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Utility Lines – Public and Private

Utility Lines – Public and Private

Navigating the intricacies of utilities can leave many homeowners scratching their heads. Questions like, “Do I need to reach out to 811 underground utility search myself? Who handles marking my pool lines? And what if a utility line gets damaged during fence replacement?” are common concerns. This guide aims to demystify the realm of public versus private utilities, explaining the disparities between them, and offering insights on managing various scenarios involving these vital systems.

Understanding Utilities

Utilities encompass a broad spectrum of services, including wires, water lines, and other equipment crucial for facilitating daily activities within a property. In the context of digging, our primary focus revolves around buried utilities such as electric lines, gas lines, telephone lines, cable service lines, water pipes, and even invisible dog fences. Ensuring the integrity of these underground systems is a shared objective among utility companies, homeowners, and construction crews, given the significant liabilities and costs associated with repair works resulting from damages.

Public vs. Private Utilities: Key Differences

Public Utilities are service lines providing gas, electric, water, sewer, phone and cable serviced by public utility companies like SMUD, Pacific Gas and Electric, Comcast, Pacific Bell, to name a few for example.

Private Utilities, on the other hand, are specific to individual properties. Private utility instances may include pool water lines, invisible dog fencing, homeowner-installed electric lines leading to structures like sheds or detached garages, propane lines for pools, sprinkler systems, and septic lines.

The Role of 811 Underground Utility Search

811 serves as a centralized public utility marking service, streamlining the process of identifying underground infrastructure. Rather than contacting each utility provider separately, 811 consolidates these requests into a single communication channel. Their mission revolves around preventing damage to underground systems by offering one-call services, ensuring that all relevant lines are marked before any excavation commences. A “clear” ticket from 811 indicates that all necessary lines have been identified, permitting safe digging activities to proceed.

Initiating Miss Utility Services

At Fantastic Fence, we take the responsibility of calling 811 on behalf of our customers. As the party undertaking digging work, we bear legal liability for any damages to public utilities. However, it’s essential to verify whether your chosen fence company offers this service or if you need to coordinate with 811 independently, especially if you reside outside our service area.

Handling Utility Damage Scenarios

In the unfortunate event of damaging a utility line, the protocol varies depending on the circumstances. If a line is hit without being marked on a clear Miss Utility ticket, the responsibility falls on Miss Utility for any ensuing repairs. Conversely, if a marked line sustains damage during excavation, the onus lies with the digging party to rectify the situation promptly. Regardless of the scenario, contacting the relevant utility company promptly is imperative to schedule necessary repairs.

Private Utility Marking: Homeowner Responsibility

It’s crucial for homeowners to identify and mark private utility lines before any digging activities commence. Unlike public utilities, there’s no centralized database for private lines, making it the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure their locations are known. Frederick Fence Company contracts explicitly state that we are not liable for damages to unmarked private utilities, emphasizing the importance of homeowner diligence in this regard.

Locating Private Utilities

For homeowners unsure of their private utility placements, these homeowners may want to hire a private utility locator. While this service is commonly employed for large commercial properties, its cost-effectiveness for smaller residential projects remains subjective. While investing in private utility locating services may prevent potential damages, it’s essential to weigh the costs against the projected risks and damages.

By understanding the distinctions between public and private utilities and adhering to established protocols for excavation and utility marking, homeowners can navigate fence replacement projects with confidence and mitigate the risks associated with underground infrastructure damages.

Contact Us

With expert guidance from Sacramento’s Fantastic Fence company, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your local fence experts will build your fence the right way! Contact us today for a free fence consultation! Call us at (916) 790-7100 or send us a message.