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Thread: Feedback for 811 in Georgia

  1. #1
    Premium Conservative OVUS1's Avatar
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    Default Feedback for 811 in Georgia

    I sent out an email about a week ago to address some locate industry concerns. I copied the entire GA811 Board of Directors & all sitting Georgia Public Service Commissioners. As a result I now have a meeting with some of the GUCC Legislative Committee members, some GA811 employees, and hopefully a couple of Commissioners. If anyone that is neck deep in the locating world in the Atlanta area wants to attend the meeting on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 10am hit me up. Here is the email I sent:

    __________________________________________________ __________________________

    Ms. Wade, Ms. Madding, GA811 Board Members, & Georgia Public Service Commissioners,

    My name is John Cook. I am the owner of OneVision Utility Services, LLC, headquartered in Cartersville, Georgia. I have been directly involved in the locating industry my entire 30+ year career and have owned my own company for almost 20 years. I am writing to you in hopes of opening up some dialog as to issues we are seeing/experiencing in the locating world in Georgia.

    • SHORT NOTICE / INSUFFICIENT REQUESTS

    These types of requests are very disruptive to our workforce and are misleading to the caller who is granted this type of request. Because of the 48 hour & accuracy restraints on locating multiple utilities in very crowded easements, our daily workloads & responsibilities rarely allow for any sort of deviance except for a true emergency. When your center grants a request like this it gives the caller a false sense of believing that the locating community will abide by the short notice request and come to their worksite as they have requested. Most times that is not the case. When we do show up to do the locate within the time allowed by Georgia law we are many times verbally attacked, berated, and treated with great disrespect. I understand the caller is told there is no guarantee and you even disclaim the process on the locate request but my question is why even push out a notice like this? There is no validity to this type of request in any law that I am aware of. We have seen many unnecessary and costly damages occur because the caller began work before all lines were located. This type of notice puts the public at a greater risk because it gives them a false sense of believing their lines will be located before the law actually allows. We continue to see the same excavators abusing the Short Notice request as they have become dependent on it and have come to expect an expedited service every time they call a locate request in. Run a query in your database and you will see that what I am saying is an absolute. I respectfully ask that this type of notice be discontinued and that all callers are treated the same as the law allows and requires. There should be only 6 types of tickets created – Normal, Emergency, 2nd Request, Restake, Large Project, and Design.

    • ALLOWING UNVERIFIED INFORMATION TO BE PRINTED ON A LOCATE REQUEST

    It is my understanding that a call center is to receive and disseminate verifiable information – address, cross street, locating instructions, contact information, etc. I am seeing additional information on tickets that casts a very negative light on our industry. When the call center prints things like “marks were off by 10 feet” or “line was mis-located” this is unverified, biased, and many times factually incorrect information. That information is seen by hundreds if not thousands of people who assume that our work is defective and hurts our reputations greatly. We have no recourse to address this false and unverified information and no way to respond with factual information to correct the false information that you have allowed to be disseminated. It does nothing to assist in the response to a caller that has reported a damaged line. Many times callers add this information in hopes of clouding the actual fact that they may have struck an accurately marked line and are simply laying the groundwork to shift the blame for the damage to the locating company. I respectfully ask that you refrain from printing this unverified, biased, unnecessary, and factually incorrect information on any locate request going forward.

    • EXCAVATORS DIGGING RIGHT ON TOP OF THE MARKS

    We are seeing more and more cases of excavators not respecting the locate marks by using mechanized equipment and digging right on top of a marked utility. We believe that more educational effort should be focused on the excavating community so that they can assist us better in preventing damages, reducing the cost to Members by eliminating 2nd requests, and performing their work as the law defines and requires. We have always used the “Shared Responsibility” slogan to rightfully identify the Damage Prevention process as a team effort, but from what I have seen in the field tells me that we need additional internal educational assistance in the excavating community so that we can all make an equal contribution to a successful Damage Prevention effort. The excavating community should be aware and constantly reminded that there are multiple entities that locate underground utilities and that some marks on a jobsite don’t necessarily mean that all utilities have been located.

    • TRANSITION OF LOCATING CONTRACTORS

    So far this year we have taken on (3) new utilities as their locating partner in Georgia. I reached out to GA811 by email on January 16, 2019, well before the Cobb EMC transition of March 1 to inform them of the impending change yet there was no response from them or any defined process to facilitate a transition. We very narrowly avoided a catastrophic situation at the last minute when GA811 finally agreed to send us the locate requests for Cobb EMC. There should be some serious discussions on informing Members and the general public when any locate contract is being transitioned. As we experienced a very rough start with Cobb EMC that transition could have been much smoother and could have presented much less of a risk to everyone if GA811 had a procedure in place to be able to receive critical information and push that information out to the affected Members so they are prepared for a transition. With the high level of growth going on in Cobb County and throughout the state, with the Large Projects that are constantly underway and needing almost daily attention, we need a definitive process and clear direction from GA811 when a locate transition is imminent. You have the database to push out this information and are the only entity in that unique position. I respectfully ask that you explore creating a defined procedure for locate contract transitions to help your Members be better prepared in the future.


    I appreciate the hard work that we all do every waking minute to keep Georgia safe and all utilities on and working. Collectively we can continue to make this a true “Shared Responsibility” process but it requires a constant flow of information, ideas, feedback, adherence to established law, and focus on the ultimate prize that we all have dedicated our lives and careers to. It is my understanding that the Advisory Committee has not met since 2015 and that the Locating Industry has little to no representation at GA811 or on any major utility or damage prevention committee. Although contesting fines is a part of that committees responsibilities I believe we should use that venue to regularly meet to solicit feedback & openly discuss the challenges we experience in our collective industries. I thank you all for your dedication to and focus on Damage Prevention.

    Respectfully,

    John H. Cook
    CEO / OWNER
    OneVision Utility Services, LLC
    PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW ADDRESS
    1119 Grassdale Road NW
    Cartersville, Georgia 30121
    678-800-7065 Office
    770-877-0326 Cell
    john@ovususa.com
    www.onevisionusa.com
    yahoo and UULC like this.
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    Default Re: Feedback for 811 in Georgia

    John here is my 2 cents. These boards are mostly made up of reps from the mega utility locate industry and contractors. The utility company reps for the most part don't care, it was something they're boss stuck them with. The mega companies won't back anything that will reduce ticket load. The contractors have the money and power behind them. I have another year or 2 to work and after retiring I am going to try to become a advocate for the locate side of 811. I would love to see some national standards adopted. I also think there needs to be some sort of locator certification I am sure this would not be popular with locate owners but it needs to happen. Good Luck I hope you can get some changes.

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    Default Re: Feedback for 811 in Georgia

    So after I typed this I decided to see who was on the board in my 2 states. There is not 1 locate company rep on either board. The both have 8-10 members and not 1 locate rep.

  4. #4
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feedback for 811 in Georgia

    Orange , it is the same thing here in our state . there is no locator rep on the board and all the guys are men in suits that don't understand the field side of things.
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  5. #5
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feedback for 811 in Georgia

    Quote Originally Posted by OVUS1 View Post
    I sent out an email about a week ago to address some locate industry concerns. I copied the entire GA811 Board of Directors & all sitting Georgia Public Service Commissioners. As a result I now have a meeting with some of the GUCC Legislative Committee members, some GA811 employees, and hopefully a couple of Commissioners. If anyone that is neck deep in the locating world in the Atlanta area wants to attend the meeting on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 10am hit me up. Here is the email I sent:

    __________________________________________________ __________________________

    Ms. Wade, Ms. Madding, GA811 Board Members, & Georgia Public Service Commissioners,

    My name is John Cook. I am the owner of OneVision Utility Services, LLC, headquartered in Cartersville, Georgia. I have been directly involved in the locating industry my entire 30+ year career and have owned my own company for almost 20 years. I am writing to you in hopes of opening up some dialog as to issues we are seeing/experiencing in the locating world in Georgia.

    • SHORT NOTICE / INSUFFICIENT REQUESTS

    These types of requests are very disruptive to our workforce and are misleading to the caller who is granted this type of request. Because of the 48 hour & accuracy restraints on locating multiple utilities in very crowded easements, our daily workloads & responsibilities rarely allow for any sort of deviance except for a true emergency. When your center grants a request like this it gives the caller a false sense of believing that the locating community will abide by the short notice request and come to their worksite as they have requested. Most times that is not the case. When we do show up to do the locate within the time allowed by Georgia law we are many times verbally attacked, berated, and treated with great disrespect. I understand the caller is told there is no guarantee and you even disclaim the process on the locate request but my question is why even push out a notice like this? There is no validity to this type of request in any law that I am aware of. We have seen many unnecessary and costly damages occur because the caller began work before all lines were located. This type of notice puts the public at a greater risk because it gives them a false sense of believing their lines will be located before the law actually allows. We continue to see the same excavators abusing the Short Notice request as they have become dependent on it and have come to expect an expedited service every time they call a locate request in. Run a query in your database and you will see that what I am saying is an absolute. I respectfully ask that this type of notice be discontinued and that all callers are treated the same as the law allows and requires. There should be only 6 types of tickets created – Normal, Emergency, 2nd Request, Restake, Large Project, and Design.

    • ALLOWING UNVERIFIED INFORMATION TO BE PRINTED ON A LOCATE REQUEST

    It is my understanding that a call center is to receive and disseminate verifiable information – address, cross street, locating instructions, contact information, etc. I am seeing additional information on tickets that casts a very negative light on our industry. When the call center prints things like “marks were off by 10 feet” or “line was mis-located” this is unverified, biased, and many times factually incorrect information. That information is seen by hundreds if not thousands of people who assume that our work is defective and hurts our reputations greatly. We have no recourse to address this false and unverified information and no way to respond with factual information to correct the false information that you have allowed to be disseminated. It does nothing to assist in the response to a caller that has reported a damaged line. Many times callers add this information in hopes of clouding the actual fact that they may have struck an accurately marked line and are simply laying the groundwork to shift the blame for the damage to the locating company. I respectfully ask that you refrain from printing this unverified, biased, unnecessary, and factually incorrect information on any locate request going forward.

    • EXCAVATORS DIGGING RIGHT ON TOP OF THE MARKS

    We are seeing more and more cases of excavators not respecting the locate marks by using mechanized equipment and digging right on top of a marked utility. We believe that more educational effort should be focused on the excavating community so that they can assist us better in preventing damages, reducing the cost to Members by eliminating 2nd requests, and performing their work as the law defines and requires. We have always used the “Shared Responsibility” slogan to rightfully identify the Damage Prevention process as a team effort, but from what I have seen in the field tells me that we need additional internal educational assistance in the excavating community so that we can all make an equal contribution to a successful Damage Prevention effort. The excavating community should be aware and constantly reminded that there are multiple entities that locate underground utilities and that some marks on a jobsite don’t necessarily mean that all utilities have been located.

    • TRANSITION OF LOCATING CONTRACTORS

    So far this year we have taken on (3) new utilities as their locating partner in Georgia. I reached out to GA811 by email on January 16, 2019, well before the Cobb EMC transition of March 1 to inform them of the impending change yet there was no response from them or any defined process to facilitate a transition. We very narrowly avoided a catastrophic situation at the last minute when GA811 finally agreed to send us the locate requests for Cobb EMC. There should be some serious discussions on informing Members and the general public when any locate contract is being transitioned. As we experienced a very rough start with Cobb EMC that transition could have been much smoother and could have presented much less of a risk to everyone if GA811 had a procedure in place to be able to receive critical information and push that information out to the affected Members so they are prepared for a transition. With the high level of growth going on in Cobb County and throughout the state, with the Large Projects that are constantly underway and needing almost daily attention, we need a definitive process and clear direction from GA811 when a locate transition is imminent. You have the database to push out this information and are the only entity in that unique position. I respectfully ask that you explore creating a defined procedure for locate contract transitions to help your Members be better prepared in the future.


    I appreciate the hard work that we all do every waking minute to keep Georgia safe and all utilities on and working. Collectively we can continue to make this a true “Shared Responsibility” process but it requires a constant flow of information, ideas, feedback, adherence to established law, and focus on the ultimate prize that we all have dedicated our lives and careers to. It is my understanding that the Advisory Committee has not met since 2015 and that the Locating Industry has little to no representation at GA811 or on any major utility or damage prevention committee. Although contesting fines is a part of that committees responsibilities I believe we should use that venue to regularly meet to solicit feedback & openly discuss the challenges we experience in our collective industries. I thank you all for your dedication to and focus on Damage Prevention.

    Respectfully,

    John H. Cook
    CEO / OWNER
    OneVision Utility Services, LLC
    PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW ADDRESS
    1119 Grassdale Road NW
    Cartersville, Georgia 30121
    678-800-7065 Office
    770-877-0326 Cell
    john@ovususa.com
    www.onevisionusa.com
    Very WELL thought out John !!! I wish you all the luck in the world with your efforts !!!! I agree with everything you said even though I am here in LA and am dealing with the very same issues here.
    UULC likes this.
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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