Ray Sheppard 0


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Utility locating laws in North Carolina need to be changed and enforced! Millions of hours, and dollars are wasted every year due to excavators abusing the utility locating system. As a utility locator myself, I see and deal with the problems every day that need to be fixed. Currently, the few laws that are written regarding utility locating in North Carolina are not even enforced. Also every law written seems to cater to the excavators doing the work. As utility locators, we are responsible for protecting the utilities; therefore we should have more power and control in order to protect these utilities from excavators. The largest problems that we experience are excavators or contractors calling in and doing whatever they want. They ALWAYS call in tickets asking for way more to be located than is needed. Given this, we are responsible for locating the entire scope of what the ticket asks for, otherwise we are held responsible for damages if they decide to change their excavation path and differ from what they tell us. This needs to be stopped. Excavators need to be forced to white line or flag the work being done, or at least call in the exact details of the excavation. if this is not done, locators should be given authority to reject the ticket and cancel it out, and the excavators are not allowed to dig until they mark the scope of the job and we then locate the utilities. A good example of this is a 811 ticket stating to locate entire property for a fence. In 90% of fence tickets, the fence is going in the back yard. Also all utilities are running from the front of the property in most cases. Therefore if we mark the front of the property and the fence is going in the back yard, we are wasting a lot of time and money. The utility companies that pay us to mark their utilities are paying us for nothing when this happens. I am sure they do not like wasting their money. This needs to be stopped. Another major problem is excavators will call locate tickets, and we go spend the time and effort to mark the scope of the ticket, but they never come do the work. They literally call in the same ticket maybe 3 or more times, and waste our time and utility company’s money to go mark it again and again for nothing. This needs to be stopped. Excavators should be limited to how many times they can call in a locate ticket for one job before they do the work. Update tickets for ongoing work on ground that is already broken, and in process of being developed is different. Locate tickets are supposed to be called in by the person doing the work, this is also abused and tickets are always being called in by individuals not doing the work. 811 does not explain this, and allows people to call in and say whatever they want for the most part on the locate tickets. The 811 call center needs more power, and should be able to prevent people from calling in the very thing that is causing these problems. Fines need to be set in place and enforced for abusing the locate laws, we as the utility locators should be allowed to write these fines to the excavators just like a Osha official can to enforce their safety laws. If we are not allowed to do this then someone needs to be set in place that can. Utility locating is a serious business, and can mean the difference between life and death. Some of these utilities are very dangerous when hit. Excavators should not be allowed to dig until the utilities are marked. This needs to be changed and enforced. These problems I have presented keep most of us utility locators working 6 to 7 days a week 60 hours or more a week. This is ridiculous, and can easily be fixed if these things are changed, and our time stops getting wasted. Utility damages, and risks will go down dramatically, if these changes happen. Also the utility company’s costs to protect their utilities will go down as well. As a fellow utility locator, you know exactly what I am talking about, and with your help we can possibly make a change. All we ask is for the North Carolina Utility Commission to recognize this petition and change the laws. Also we ask for the utility companies that are paying for this to stand up and get the laws changed as well, and please give utility locators more power to keep excavators in check. Please sign this petition to help make our voice be heard.

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