Columbia Gas (OH) launched a Safety Contest this summer that resulted in $10,000 in prizes. The Good Call. Great Yard. 811 Contest, encouraged residents to submit a photo or video sharing why they could use a yard makeover. Finalists were shared publicly for vote.

The top three entries received gift cards to Lowe’s, a local nursery or hardware store. The first place winner also received $5,000 while second and third place winners received $2,500. The contest promoted the importance of calling 811 before tackling home improvement projects that involve digging. In Ohio, you must call 811 at least two days before digging, and the local utilities will mark their lines so the project will be safe.

CGA Releases New Best Practices Guide

Common Ground Alliance (CGA) has released the Best Practices Guide 18.0, a resource in underground damage prevention. The Guide includes over 160 Best Practices established by a consensus of CGA’s 16 stakeholder groups that provide damage prevention recommendations based on practices being utilized and categorized by six key industry areas: One Call Center, Facility Owner, Excavator, Locator, Project Owner and Designer.

The new Guide includes two new Best Practices and an addition to Appendix B: Uniform Color Code and Marking Guidelines:

Best Practice 2-19:

Underground Electronic Utility Markers: Underground electronic utility markers are an effective way to enable accurate locating and verification of underground utilities.

Best Practice 6-19:

As-Built Mapping of Underground Electronic Utility Markers: The location of underground electronic utility markers is identified on as-built mapping, GIS mapping, and/or other underground facility mapping documents.

Addition to Appendix B:

Uniform Color Cod and Marking Guidelines: Guidelines for Underground Electronic Utility Marker Technology.

The Best Practices Guide 18.0 can be viewed in full on CGA’s website at

Patrick Scully

Named Commissioner of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Chairman Philip L. Bartlett II welcomed new Commissioner Patrick Scully to the Maine Public Utilities Commission in mid-June. Scully was confirmed by the State Senate and sworn in by Governor Janet Mills.

Prior to his appointment, Scully was employed with Berstein Shur, where he spent his 36-year career as a municipal, energy and utility regulatory attorney. He was named CEO of the firm in 2014 and retired in 2019. “Pat brings a wealth of expertise in energy and utilities and we look forward to him getting up to speed on some very important and complex cases,” Bartlett said. Current cases before the Commission include proposed rate changes for Versant Power, Maine Water Company and Bangor Gas. In addition, the Commission is starting work on an effort to ensure that the electric grid is modernized to help meet energy and climate goals.

Coal Seam Gas Company Drills under Australia’s Farmland without Notifying Landowners

On Queensland’s Darling Downs, home of sought-after farmland in Australia, a coal seam gas company has drilled under farmland without notifying landowners. A number of landowners in the region learned in June that the “deviated” gas wells have been drilled at angles under their properties.

Arrow Energy is owned by Shell and Petrochinam, and is in phase one of its $10 billion Surat Gas Project, which will result in more than 2,000 gas wells drilled across the area. To limit the impact on farmland, gas wells will be grouped on the edge of paddocks and drilled at angles into the coal seam. Arrow Energy said as soon as it realized notice should have been given, it proactively contacted affected landowners. A lawyer who represents landowners in the area said there was no excuse for not notifying them before drilling under their farms, which he said is required under the Minerals and Energy Resources Act 2014.

Under Queensland laws, a gas company is entitled to access private land to access a resource. “We have proven across our many, many relationships with landowners that we can work around their farming requirements on their land without unduly disrupting their business while adding valuable drought-free income to support their business,” an Arrow Energy spokesperson said.

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