SDG&E Promotes Safety by Setting New Excavation Standards

New Gold Shovel Standard program requires contractors to adopt best safety practices to work for SDG&E

Deadline for contractor registration is March 31

SAN DIEGO, March 13, 2017 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced its membership in the Gold Shovel Standard (GSS), a nonprofit organization committed to public safety by driving consistent contractor participation in preventing excavation dig-ins. By setting new standards, SDG&E hopes other companies and municipalities will follow to help reduce the more than 300 incidents that occur each year in the region of contractors hitting underground utilities.

“The safety of our employees, customers, and communities we serve is our top priority,” said Gina Orozco-Mejia, vice president of gas operations for SDG&E. “The Gold Shovel Standard will employ industry best practices to certify that contractors have demonstrated exemplary safety performance in the field. We hope this program will make a positive impact by encouraging contractors to adopt safe excavation processes.”

The so-called “dig-ins” are not only a public safety hazard but they can cause natural gas service outages in the community. In fact, every six minutes in America, an underground utility line is damaged by an excavation.

Contractors performing excavation work for SDG&E were notified several months ago that they will be required to register in the nonprofit GSS program by March 31 and be GSS-certified by July 31, 2017 to be eligible for SDG&E contracts. 

Gold Shovel Standard fills an industry gap by providing third-party confirmation of baseline safety management systems to protect underground utilities, and provide fair and transparent metrics for damage prevention. Gold Shovel Standard certified excavators have a demonstrated commitment to high safety standards, and ongoing engagement with continued training and education in industry best practices.  To date, 750 organizations have created a complete safety management system for damage prevention.

Another program that SDG&E offers as it works towards becoming the safest energy company in America is the 8-1-1 call before you dig system. It is a free service for contractors to help prevent dig-ins. Contractors can call 8-1-1 at least two days before they dig and SDG&E will locate and mark the underground electric lines, natural gas pipes and cables in the area, providing contractors the information they need to avoid them.

For more information about Gold Shovel Standard contact the Gold Shovel Standard Customer Service Team visit their website at

SDG&E is an innovative San Diego-based energy company that provides safe, reliable, clean energy to better the lives of the people it serves in San Diego and southern Orange counties. More than 4,100 employees work to provide the cleanest, most reliable  energy in the West. The company has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for leadership in addressing climate change, was the first to meet California’s goal of delivering 33 percent of energy from renewable sources, has fueled the adoption of electric vehicles and energy efficiency through unique customer programs, and supports a number of non-profit partners. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit or connect with SDG&E on Twitter (@SDGE),  Instagram (@SDGE) and Facebook.