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August 11 is National Safe Digging Day #dial811

DETROIT, Aug. 11, 2017 – Today, 8-11, is National Safe Digging Day, and a timely reminder to utilize the free MISS DIG 811 service before undertaking any digging activity. Michigan state law requires residents and excavators to call 811 or visit missdig811.org to complete an online request at least three business days before excavating. A crew will be dispatched to locate and mark buried utilities in your work area. Make the right call. It’s safe, it’s smart, and it’s the law.

DTE Energy Earns Gold Shovel Standard

There are more than 100 billion feet of buried cable, gas, electric, sewer, telephone and water lines in the U.S. DTE Gas is doing its part to keep its underground gas and other infrastructure safe by earning Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) certification. The achievement is part of a national voluntary program designed to keep customers, energy employees and the public safe while working with or around buried utilities. The GSS nonprofit organization awards certification to companies that demonstrate high safety standards and ongoing training and education for employees in industry best practices. 

“Excavation work throughout Michigan increases significantly this time of year – including a number of DTE Energy projects – in our communities and we’re highly sensitive to how these projects can impact our gas infrastructure,” said Catherine Stafford, director of Enterprise Performance Management, DTE Energy. “Safety is DTE Energy’s top priority, and programs like the Gold Shovel Standard certification allow us to collaborate with the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Public Service Commission, excavators, other utilities and municipalities throughout the state to minimize damages and keep our communities safe.”

DTE has had success in the past collaborating with excavators, and the GSS program creates common, national standards for work already being done.  For example, just a year ago, DTE worked closely with Pamar Enterprises to help the Michigan company significantly reduce the number of natural gas pipeline strikes they were incurring.

“We were working for the City of Dearborn and having difficulty locating underground utilities – especially natural gas – which unfortunately resulted in accidental damage to DTE gas lines,” said D. J. Westrick, a Pamar supervisor.

To address the situation, DTE met regularly with Pamar to review excavation plans and assigned an employee to the construction company’s work area.

“If we had a concern, we would call DTE and their representative would quickly be on site,” Westrick said. “The collaboration worked well. Our damage was reduced by about 80 percent. The key was working together. We do not want to damage their utility lines or anyone else’s. Most important, we don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.”

DTE requires its excavation contractors to be GSS certified.

Excavators interested in becoming Gold Shovel Standard certified should visit www.goldshovelstandard.org, send an email to info@goldshovelstandard.org or call: 855-676-7252.

About DTE Energy

DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com.

For further information, members of the media may contact:

Peter Ternes or John Fossen, DTE Energy, 313.235.5555