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Outage Reporting: (406) 467-2527 or 800-452-7516

Call Before You Dig

Call Process Procedure

The following is a description of the questions the operator will ask when a locate is requested.

  1. Caller's daytime telephone number or contract ID number?
  2. Caller's first and last name?
  3. Caller's company name if applicable.
  4. Company mailing address if caller is a registered contractor?
  5. Alternate contact name and telephone number?
  6. Type of work (reason for the excavation i.e., septic system work)?
  7. For whom is the work to be done?
  8. In what county will the work take place?
  9. In what city, or nearest city, will the work be done?
  10. Address or street location of the work?
  11. Nearest intersecting street, highway, or road to the work site?
  12. Where specifically will the digging take place? (front yard, south side, etc.)
  13. Identify overhead power lines in excavation area.
  14. Any other pertinent information or remarks.
  15. The operator will provide the date and time the utilities should have the area identified and marked. If an earlier locate start date is needed, the operator will note the request.
  16. If you know the township, range, section and quarter section this information would be extremely helpful.

Plan to call for your locate two working days before you are planning to do the work.

Underground Locating System

Locating underground facilities is an important aspect of any earth moving project, and it is also the law!  Please take a moment to review the information offered before placing a call to the Call Center.  The web address ( is a new option for homeowners to consider when submitting information for locates.  This option allows one to take one's time entering the information and is "user friendly" for most all computer users.

The law was established to insure that utility companies would be notified of excavation work being done in their area that might affect their facilities. This notification process allows the utilities to identify the location prior to an excavation project thus reducing the risk of injury and costly repairs. The law also provides protection to the contractor/consumer. Once the call has been recorded, the responsibility is now on the utility to perform the locate within two business days. If the utility fails to perform the locate, the contractor/consumer is not responsible for repair costs if the facilities are damaged unless caused by his negligence. The contractor/consumer is also not responsible if the utility mis-marks the locate request. The utility is allowed 18 inches on either side of the locate mark as their "room for error". Once the locate markings are in place the contractor/consumer is responsible for maintaining the markings.

Two other issues that need to be addressed are contractor liabilities and ELM Locators, Inc.. If a consumer hires a contractor to perform work, the contractor is the liable party responsible for the completeness of the locate request. The contractor may agree to have the consumer place the call to the call center, but the contractor remains the liable party. If no contractor is being hired, the consumer becomes the liable party for the locate request. This is one of the most misinterpreted situations.

The distinction between ELM Locators, Inc. and Utility Underground Location Center (UULC) needs to be clarified.  UULC is the company that receives the locate requests and then notifies the utility company that a locate is needed. ELM Locators is a completely different company that actually goes out into the field and performs the locates. Utility companies contract with ELM to do all, or a portion, of the locate requests for the utility. ELM is hired to locate the utility services only. If a consumer wants his/her underground services located, the consumer must deal directly with the ELM Locator Company or hire the individual utilities to perform the service. The contractor/consumer does not have to pay for having the utilities equipment located, only the underground that is owned by the consumer. This rate varies between utilities but usually it is $50.00 per hour and .50 cents per mile for travel.

If you have questions, please call the SREC office at 467-2526 or 1-800-452-7516.

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