We Energies reminds customers to dial before digging

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Nice weather has finally arrived, and people are eager to plant trees and do yard work. However, an outdoor weekend project could be dangerous without first calling Diggers Hotline at 8-1-1. We Energies urges customers to have their underground utility lines marked, free of charge, at least three days before doing any digging or new landscaping work.

Failing to have underground electric, natural gas and other utility lines marked puts you, your family and your neighbors at risk every time you put a shovel into the ground. The danger of hitting underground utilities can easily be avoided with one simple phone call to 8-1-1.

Utility professionals will mark the location of buried utility services in your yard. Once buried lines are marked, you are required to maintain a minimum clearance of 18 inches between the markings and power digging equipment. Use caution when digging within 18 inches and only use hand tools.

Customers should avoid planting trees and shrubs near utility boxes. Shrubbery should be planted at least 10 feet away from electrical equipment. Planning locations for new trees also is important. Avoid planting trees near overhead power lines if the tree limbs might contact power lines as the tree matures. Limbs contacting power lines during storms can cause power outages.

There are many utility-friendly trees appropriate for planting near power lines. These include amur maple (15-20 feet at maturity), serviceberry (20-25 feet), hawthorn (15-20 feet) and many varieties of flowering crabapple (15-25 feet).

Customers with safety questions are encouraged to call We Energies at 800-662- 4797. Safety tips also are posted on our website at we-energies.com.