Damages Dateline – 2020 Year In Review

Damages Continue Across the Nation
The past year proved uniquely challenging, with utility professionals taking on the additional precautions necessitated by COVID–19 while still maintaining and installing the essential infrastructure the nation depended on. Periodic surges in the volume of locate requests were brought about partly by some of the cultural effects of the pandemic—more people engaged in DIY projects, more workers at home—which posed additional strain on already strained one–call ticket system resources.

Unfortunately, an upward trend in overall damages continued. Per The DIRT Report 2019, “Estimated damages were up 4.5% in 2019 compared to 2018, while transmissions {to one–calls} were up 9.5%. While construction spending was flat, data showed more spending per construction dollar in 2019. This suggests that the trend of rising damages correlates with the rise in transmissions, and that the damage prevention system is becoming stressed.” (See Figures 1–2). While various factors could be leading to an increase in one–call tickets, from increased awareness to more digging activity, one thing is clear, damages haven’t stopped. We present some key incidents across the nation in 2020.

As Seen in: