By Renée Francoeur
June 3, 2015 – There will likely be more digging, sawing and hammering in yards across Manitoba this summer due to a new underground natural gas and electricity line locate system by Manitoba Hydro.
Also known as Call Before You Dig, the system involves switching from a paper form to an electronic process. Manitoba Hydro customers no longer need to be on-site to sign the required line locate clearance form. The company said the system also features a shorter processing time frame that allows for a quicker start on landscaping projects such as building a deck, digging a garden or flower bed or planting a tree—all of which require a line locate.
The change became possible following August 2014 amendments to the Gas Pipe Line Excavations Regulation within the Gas Pipe Line Act, explained the utility, adding that when customers call Manitoba Hydro’s contact centre under the new system, they are asked to provide verbal descriptors about the site that requires a line locate.
“Manitoba Hydro then schedules the line locate for the next available opportunity and sends the customer a comprehensive email by the end of the same day the locate is scheduled for,” said Robert Morrison, Manitoba Hydro’s supervisor of underground locates for Winnipeg East. “That email provides the clearance form, an electronic map of the area with the hazards identified and links to every safe excavation practice they need to follow—laws, guidelines, and provincial regulations—all in one package.”
According to Morrison, the majority of damages occur when safety practices aren’t followed so the potential for incidence could be reduced with safety practices now embedded in the customer email for quick reference.
To book a line locate appointment, call 1-888-MBHYDRO (1-888-624-9376) or in Winnipeg call 204-480-1212.