TECO Peoples Gas helps get 811 word out after Hurricane Michael

Always a champion of safe digging, TECO Peoples Gas reminded Florida’s Panhandle residents to call 811 before doing any restoration or repair work that requires digging so no additional damage occurs to those underground facilities. Read the press release below for more information.

PRESS RELEASE

TECO Peoples Gas Crews Assessing Damage in Areas Impacted by Hurricane Michael

Tuesday, October 16th 2018, 1:47 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 16th 2018, 1:47 PM PDT

Crews actively responding to natural gas leaks and making emergency repairs in the Panhandle

TAMPA, Fla. --(BUSINESS WIRE)

TECO Peoples Gas team members from the local Panama City office, from across the state and our sister company, New Mexico Gas Co., are working in the Florida Panhandle to repair or make safe any leaks and assess our gas systems damage caused by Hurricane Michael. Following our initial emergency response and assessment of the area, which began the day after the storm made landfall, our workers are now going door-to-door inspecting natural gas pipe and equipment, responding to reports of natural gas leaks and making emergency repairs.

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, our thoughts are with our customers and everyone impacted," said T.J. Szelistowski, president of TECO Peoples Gas. "We are here to help and will do everything we can to restore service and help rebuild this great community."

Customers whose natural gas service was impacted by the storm can reach the Peoples Gas hurricane helpline and our dedicated team of customer service professionals at 850-914-6130.

Peoples Gas team members and contractors are required to carry a company ID badge at all times. If residents and business owners have any questions or concerns about workers entering their property, they should ask to see an ID badge.

As we work to assess damage, make repairs and restore service, Peoples Gas advises customers to leave their natural gas service on. Customers should not attempt to turn gas off at their meters. For safety reasons, Peoples Gas or other emergency personnel may need to turn off some customers’ service at the meter. If customers find their gas service has been shut off, they should call the Peoples Gas hurricane helpline at 850-914-6130.

If at any time residents smell a rotten egg or sulfur-like odor, see dirt blowing or water bubbling, or hear a hissing or high-pitched whistling, there could be a natural gas leak. Residents should leave the premises immediately and then call the Peoples Gas 24-hour Emergency Gas Leak number: 1-877-832-6747, say “emergency” or select option 1.

Customers and utility personnel in the Panhandle should remember to call 811 prior to any restoration or repair work that requires digging. Calls to 811 from the area will be considered a priority. Marking underground utility lines is vitally important so that no additional damage occurs to these facilities as a result of restoration activities.

Original Story

Reaching the right person at right time could save life of contractor digging near your facilities

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Sunshine 811 recently completed a series of emails to its member facility owners to update their contact information. This is something we do each year, but it’s becoming a critical part of our daily operation as some ignore our plea.

We consistently hear from excavators that the phone numbers are incorrect or out of service. And during hurricane season, members rely on this information to coordinate storm recovery efforts with other members.

“Our member service representatives update contact information on a daily basis,” Sunshine 811 Technical Operations Manager Bill Heath explains. “Whenever we discover an outdated contact, we work to find the correct information.”

Updating contact information is a simple action to help each member comply with, § 556.112, Fla. Stat., which requires all Sunshine 811 members to update their design services information annually.

“Although excavators must notify 811 and wait the required time before digging,” Sunshine 811 Executive Director Mark Sweet explains, “they may have questions about your response to their locate request. To help protect your underground facilities from accidental damage, it is essential that all members provide Sunshine 811 with accurate and current contact information to facilitate direct communications with excavators who will be digging near your facilities”

Members

Below are the 11 contacts types within Sunshine 811’s system. If you are a member and have not updated any of the contact information listed below, please contact our Member Services Department at (800) 651-6720 or email them at memberservices@sunshine811.com.

Excavators & Others

If you’re an excavator, locator or other stakeholder and cannot reach a member using the contact information on your ticket or in the emergency phone book, please complete the quick form by clicking on SUBMIT INCORRECT MEMBER CONTACT INFORMATION below. Member Services will use your information to begin getting the updated contact information.

Reaching the right person at the right time could help save the life of a contractor digging near your buried facilities.

Contact Types

  1. Emergency Contact: The emergency contact is the person listed on emergency tickets and included on the emergency contact list. This number should be answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  2. Alternate Contact: The alternate contact receiving location is where locate tickets are sent when your primary receiving equipment is not working properly.

  3. After Hours Contact: The after-hours contact is someone who can be contacted outside of your organization's normal business hours.

  4. Billing Contact: The billing contact is the person or department to receive the monthly invoice and annual assessment letters.

    If you are currently receiving paper invoices and would like to receive them electronically, email memberservices@sunshine811.com your member code and the email address or addresses where you would like us to send your invoices.

  5. Board Representative: The board representative contact is the person authorized to vote on your organization's behalf at Sunshine 811 membership meetings.

  6. Catastrophic Contact: The catastrophic contact is someone who is contacted before, during and after a storm, natural disaster or other catastrophic event. This contact is included in our emergency contact list.

  7. Damage Contact: The damage contact is the person primarily responsible for submitting damages as required by § 556.102 (12)(a), F.S. This person is also responsible for maintaining user accounts in the Florida DIRT System.

  8. Database Contact: Person or department responsible for setting up and maintaining your company’s service area registration. This may include manually drawing your service area on the maps in our system, or it may be the person responsible for uploading shape files and approving their release into production.

  9. Engineering Contact: The engineering contact is the person or department responsible for design requests as required by § 556.112, F.S.

  10. Receiving Location Contact: The receiving location contact is a person or department that monitors and receives locate tickets from Sunshine 811. This person is also contacted with ticket delivery issues. This is also the default contact provided to excavators requesting member contact information.

  11. Temporary Type Contact: The temporary type contact has access to a limited set of permissions at online811.com including entering positive response information for a ticket. This contact is not typically contacted for receiving or database-related issues.

2018 BOARD ELECTIONS

Sunshine 811 held its annual elections at the 2018 Annual Meeting, May 17, 2018 in DeBary. Re-elected to the board for fiscal year 2018-2019 are: Carlos Bates, Frontier Communications; Dino Farruggio, AT&T; Lisa Jackson, Hillsborough County Public Utilities; Michelle Johnson, Duke Energy; Lorenzo Jones, TECO; and Pedro Vigil, Miami-Dade Water & Sewer.

Damage prevention stakeholders request legislative enforcement study - recommendations

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Sunshine 811 and industry stakeholders including the Florida Natural Gas Association, TECO Peoples Gas, AT&T, Florida Internet and Television, the National Utility Contractors Association of Florida, and the Florida Energy Pipeline Association, have asked the Legislature to conduct a study of Florida’s damage prevention law enforcement program with recommendations for future legislation as appropriate.

This request follows annual determinations made by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Department of Transportation, that the State of Florida's enforcement of its excavation damage prevention law is INADEQUATE.

PHMSA’s determinations, made initially for 2016 and again for 2017, have opened the door for federal enforcement action to be taken against excavators that violate federal one-call law and damage PHMSA-regulated pipelines with fines of up to $205,648 per violation per day with a maximum civil penalty of $2,056,380 for a related series of violations.

Purpose of Legislature Study

  • Identify options and future legislation needed to bring the State of Florida in line with federal enforcement standards;
  • Increase compliance with Florida’s one-call law; and
  • Reduce excavation damages to underground facilities through more effective enforcement of Chapter 556, the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, Florida Statutes.

A copy of the May 11, 2018 letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House is provided below.


2017 mandatory FL DIRT, DIRT data due 3/31/18

With the deadline for mandatory submission of damage data (effective July 1, 2017) just around the corner, Sunshine 811 urges all of its members to get their damage data uploaded into the FL DIRT system as soon as possible. 

s.556.105(12)(b) If an event damages any pipe, cable or its protective covering, or other underground facility, the member operator receiving the notice shall file a report with the system. Reports must be submitted annually to the system, no later than March 31 for the prior calendar year, or more frequently at the option and sole discretion of the member operator.

Already using Florida DIRT?

If you already submitted your 2017 data, thank you! No further action is required.

If you have nothing to report, please go to "submission status" within the Florida DIRT Main Menu and check the box indicating your report is complete for 2017.

New to damage reporting?

Florida DIRT is a personalized version of the Common Ground Alliance's Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT). Its purpose is to gather meaningful data on underground facility events. An event is defined by the CGA DIRT User’s Guide as “the occurrence of downtime, damages and near misses.” It helps us determine probabilities using national data. See the graphics to the right for some examples. With more Florida data, we hope to do the same using state-relevant numbers.

Florida DIRT is a way for you to anonymously submit data into a broad database that is analyzed for root causes that lead to events. The primary purpose is to promote safe excavation practices that prevent damages.

For more information on Florida DIRT visit sunshine811.com/florida-dirt. Use the 2017 forms to submit 2017 data. All 2018 data should be reported using the Fresh DIRT forms dated 11/2017.

Already using CGA's national DIRT?

It is mandatory for all members to report damages to the system. If you're already using the Common Ground Alliance's national DIRT, or your company wants to use the national system, you need to grant Sunshine State One Call of Florida, Inc. access to your data. The steps to do this are below. 

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