Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(6) Pennsylvania corporation created to help protect the underground facilities of members through communication with any person planning to disturb the earth. This communication network receives and processes underground line location requests from excavators, contractors, plumbers, builders, designers, and the general public; and disseminates this work location information to all members based on their service agreements. The principal place of business is located at 925 Irwin Run Rd., West Mifflin, PA 15122. The Disaster Recovery backup site is the Ohio Utilities Protection Service in Youngstown, OH.
THE COMPANY’S MISSION
Our purpose is to prevent damage to underground facilities. To promote safety, we provide an efficient and effective communications network among project owners, designers, excavators, and facility owners.
We are a service company dedicated to minimizing utility service interruptions, reducing on-the-job injuries and deaths, promoting a higher level of public safety and protecting the environment. The company provides a toll free telephone number for anyone to call when digging and requesting location of underground lines and can also be reached using the national call before you dig number of 8-1-1. The service is available 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Information is obtained from the person planning a dig or the person proposing to dig and disseminated to underground facility owner/operators via data transmission to their computers via email, modem, or fax and voice relayed to their emergency personnel when necessary. The system accepts automated responses from facility operators and relays them to the excavator/designer.
In addition, we provide electronic mapping services which provide members with significant savings in time and money. Safety presentations are available to facility owner/operators, excavators, and first responders. We heighten public awareness through our attendance at trade shows and safety conferences, and provide mailing services for compliance with state and federal regulations.
Since its inception in 1972, Pennsylvania One Call System has increased its membership from 6 utilities to 3,441 underground facility owner/operators from the following industries: cable television, electric, gas, propane, pipeline, sewer, telecommunications, telephone, water and government, including state, county, city, borough, townships of the 1st class, townships of the 2nd class, and municipal authorities. Members also include private master meter companies, manufactured housing, and individual entities owning underground facilities which cross public roads.
Use of the service by excavators increased from 389 calls the first year to a peak of 674,045 in 2007. There was a slight decline to 664,395 in 2008 due to the economic slowdown, which continued in 2009 reaching 630,529, taking us back to volumes experienced in 2004/2005. A modest recovery began in March 2010 with the call volume increasing to 665,069 by the end of the year. 2011 again showed an increase in call volume with a year of total of 706,437 calls.
DEVELOPMENT TO DATE
Established in September 1972, the service covered 6 utilities serving Allegheny County in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
· In April 1975, Act 287 (1974) went into effect requiring excavators to call before digging, and expanded the service area to 11 counties. At that time, in honor of the 1776 United States Bicentennial, the toll free number 800-242-1776 was added as an additional way to reach the call center. Expansion continued across the Commonwealth in 1977, adding Central Pennsylvania in a merger with JUNE (Joint Utility Notification for Excavators) and the Southeastern counties were added in September 1977.
Having established the Call Before You Dig concept in the state, the Pennsylvania One Call System and the contractor associations sought passage of legislation mandating participation by all underground facility owner/operators.
· Enactment of Act 172 (1986) brought major growth and clearly established the need for a full time staff to coordinate member services and perform the duties of the corporation. Enactment of Act 38 (1991) placed new responsibilities on engineers, architects, contractors, facility owners and municipalities.
· Enactment of Act 187 (1996) brought about change in the composition and structure of the Board of Directors and provided for greater enforcement abilities involving the PA Department of Labor & Industry (Department).
· At the Department’s request, Act 199 (2004) provided the Department greater enforcement authority and redefined the administrative fines and penalties.
· Enactment of Act 181 (2006) incorporated Subsurface Utility Engineering requirements, began requiring adherence to CGA Best Practices by reference, defined responsibilities of a project owner and a complex project, gave the Board of Directors the ability to define the maximum area of a notification and included other factors concerning the operation of the System.
· Act 121 (2008) clarified the “good Samaritan” which allows facility owners to identify the location of underground lines which they do not own as a helpful guide to excavators without assuming liability for their efforts.
Today, Pennsylvania One Call System serves all 67 counties and employs over 70 people. Our development goals are for increased participation by all underground facility owner/operators, project owners, designers and excavators, with special emphasis on those from new technology areas, which includes the Marcellus Shale production companies and the Oil & Gas production companies.
LEGAL STATUS AND OWNERSHIP
Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. is incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and registered as a non-profit corporation under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. A 36 member Board of Directors representing each underground facility industry, including board seats for contractors, designers, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Departments of Labor and Industry and Transportation governs it. The President & Executive Director, William G. Kiger, is the Chief Operating Officer of the corporation since 1974.
Funding of the company has come from notification service fees to members and a small amount from excavator fees and supplier dues. Increased revenues from growth are used to offset operating expenses.