With snow off the ground, and warmer weather finally here, people will soon begin their annual spring traditions of gardening and landscaping. Xcel Energy reminds customers that April was National Safe Digging Month. To be safe, customers should call 8-1-1 to have underground utility lines marked before beginning any digging projects.

Damaging or striking a single line can create a dangerous situation, cause injury, or result in repair costs, fines and outages. Wisconsin and Michigan homeowners and contractors can call 8-1-1 or Wisconsin residents can submit an online request to Wisconsin One Call and Michigan customers can via MissDig811 at least three business days in advance of a planned project. Every digging project, large or small, warrants a call. Installing a post for a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree are all examples of projects that need a call to 8-1-1.

The appropriate utility companies will be contacted of the caller's intent to dig. At no charge, professional locators will mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Xcel Energy had more than 40 incidents last year in Wisconsin when buried gas and electric lines were damaged during excavation and not located beforehand.

Customers need to make arrangements with a private locate company to locate lines not owned by a utility, such as a line installed by a homeowner to heat a pool or light a garage.

For more information about 8-1-1 and safe digging practices visit Call 8-1-1 Before you Dig or Wisconsin One Call or MissDig811.