As Old Man Winter prepares to make his seasonal appearance, local residents are gearing up for the long, cold months ahead. With that preparation comes last-minute outdoor projects, like moving hardy perennials and planting bulbs, trees and shrubs before the cold weather sets in for the long haul. 

When getting started on last-minute outdoor projects, it’s important to be mindful of DTE equipment, both underground and outside your home. If you’re planting new trees and bushes, be sure to keep them away from your meter. We need a clear path to your meter for accurate reading, and more importantly, in case of emergency. The fall is also a good time to clear any overgrowth that may have creeped onto your meter over the summer. 

As always, when digging—whether moving perennials or planting new vegetation—be sure to call MISS DIG at 8-1-1 before you begin.  

Dig safely using five simple steps: 

  • Contact MISS DIG at 811 or missdig811.org at least three business days before digging. 

  • Wait until the flags are placed. Utility companies have three business days to go out to your property and mark where facilities are located. We use paint and/or flags to identify the approximate location of our lines. 

  • Check status online to confirm all utilities have been marked. After the three business days, go online to status.missdig811.org to verify that all facilities have been marked. Enter your ticket number and review the responses from the utilities. 

  • Begin your project. Congratulations! You are ready to begin your project if all facilities are marked, your start work date and time has arrived, and Positive Response statuses are all green. 

  • Dig with care. Most importantly, keep yourself, your family, and friends safe. Make sure you are digging in the Safe Zone (more than four feet out on either side of facility markings). If you are closer than four feet out from facility markings, you must first hand-expose the facility lines to determine their exact location to ensure you do not harm yourself or cut off service. 

The same rule applies for contractors. If you’re working with an outside expert on a last-minute outdoor project, make sure they call 8-1-1 before getting started. It’s simple, fast and it’s the law.