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Yankee Gas Services Company
P.O. Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141-0270
STUDY CONFIRMS THIRD PARTY DAMAGE TO UNDERGROUND UTILITIES POSES GREATEST PUBLIC SAFETY RISK
Sandy St. Pierre
Highlights importance of one-call system to prevent damage
BERLIN, Conn., April 13, 2005 (NYSE: NU) –
Third party damage remains a leading cause of serious safety incidents in the natural gas industry, according to a recent study by the American Gas Foundation (AGF). The study, which looked at the safety performance of the natural gas industry between 1990 and 2002, found that while serious incidents – those involving injury or fatality – decreased by 40 percent, the leading cause of those incidents was damage by outside force.
“The natural gas industry invests millions of dollars each year to ensure the safety and integrity of the pipeline system. But thanks to economic growth that’s led to a construction boom, the system is increasingly vulnerable. This study, which is the first of its kind in the industry, is significant because it highlights the importance of our one-call system – Call Before You Dig – to preventing third party damage,” said Christopher L. Beschler, vice president of Operations for Yankee Gas Services Company and a member of the Call Before You Dig board of directors. Yankee Gas is Connecticut’s largest natural gas distribution company. “As construction activity has increased around our distribution system, the risk of damaging those facilities also goes up. That’s why we work hard to educate the public, our customers, excavators and anyone else who may be working near our facilities about the law requiring them to call before they dig. That gives us time to locate and mark our facilities, preventing someone from hitting them by accident.”
In Connecticut, the law requires anyone planning to use power or mechanized equipment to disturb the earth on or below the surface, to notify Call Before You Dig (CBYD). The notification must occur at least two business days before any digging takes place and the CBYD ticket is only good for 30 days before it must be renewed. To learn more about the CBYD law in Connecticut, call 1-800-922-4455, or visit
Construction activity in Connecticut has been increasing steadily since 2001; the number of requests for Yankee to mark out its facilities has increased more than 31 percent since 2001. In 2004, Yankee received more than 58,000 CBYD notices along its 3,085 miles of mains and approximately 136,000 services. That was an increase of 7,000 requests, compared to 2003. According to data filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation, which regulates the natural gas industry, the majority of leaks to gas services on Yankee’s distribution system in 2004 were caused by third party damage. Preventing third party damage is also a measure of service quality and Yankee has met or exceeded its goal of preventing third party damage since the DPUC-mandated Service Quality Plan began tracking it in 2001.
“Operating and maintaining a safe, reliable distribution system is our top priority,” added Beschler. “To help us do that, Connecticut’s Call Before You Dig program plays a large role in helping prevent accidental damage that threatens the public’s safety, the safety of our employees or damage to public or private property. This law is on the books to save lives; that’s what we need people to understand.”
For more information about the AGF study, visit
Yankee Gas Services Company (Yankee Gas) is Connecticut’s largest natural gas distribution company, delivering safe, reliable natural gas service to approximately 194,000 customers in 71 cities and towns. Yankee Gas is expanding Connecticut’s energy options and increasing customer choice by extending the availability of clean, efficient natural gas throughout the state. Yankee Gas is part of the Northeast Utilities System (NYSE: NU). For more information, please visit
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