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      Consumers Energy urges caution before excavation work

      Consumers Energy is asking homeowners to be safer diggers, after an increase in damages to its underground natural gas and electric lines.

      Through July, underground damages caused by homeowners went up by 28 percent from the same time last year.

      Common projects like setting fence or mailbox posts, planting trees or installing decks can cause damage to underground lines if not done properly.

      "And all they need to do is use hand tools to expose the underground lines before commencing with any power tools, and a lot of people are failing to do that,â?? said Consumers spokesperson Mary Kulis.

      Homeowners should also call MISS DIG at 811 at least three days before digging, so utilities can be marked. It is free of charge and Consumers says it can help avoid serious consequences like unintended utility interruptions, repairs and injuries.

      Michigan law requires a call to MISS DIG/811 before using any power excavating equipment, but homeowners are encouraged to call before any excavation project. More information is available at