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What is a private utility?

A private utility is a utility provided by a private contractor and may be installed both during the initial construction of the facility and at any time after as facility improvements are performed.  These utilities include electric, gas, cable, telephone, sewer and water.  As for electricity, the private utility begins at the facilities transformer and generally travels to the building at where it is roughed-in.  The transformer is the (big green box) that is usually placed on the street side or front of the property of commercial properties.  This only represents the initial private electrical utility.  As for the balance of utilities, it will not be evident where the private utility begins without further investigation.

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What is an example of a private utility? 


The most common private utility is power for facility lighting, including parking lot lighting. Electricity, gas, cable, etc. may be run from a primary building to a second on-site building. Gas for outdoor grills, entry accent torches, etc. are also very common.  Phone and internet to remote buildings.

What is a private locate? 

A private locate is an act to locate private utilities.  It is never performed by the One Call System because they have no record of these utilities.  Only the owner of the facility and potentially the contractor who built the building would have the original as-builts, identifying the utilities.  Unlike public or One Call locates, there are no regulations or standards governing private locates.  Private locates may be noted by any means agreed to by the locator and the contractor performing the future work.  You should request the locates be painted and flagged to avoid confusion with other construction site communications such as survey stakes, post hole locations, etc.

Who performs private locates?  

Private locates may be performed by as-builts, memory, or by a electrician who has the means to tap on to the electrical service.   Again, these should be located by means agreed to by the locator and the individual installing the fence.

What is the accuracy of private locates?  

There is no standard governing accuracy so this may range from being dead-on top of the utility to being completely off. 

Who assures that private locates are completed? 

The contractor performing the future work should request in writing that all private utilities be located prior to the work being performed.  The contractor should request notification in writing that the locates are complete and review the locates prior to beginning the work. 

What is included in the request for private utility locates?  

The request should state when the contractor intends on beginning the work.  It should  include that the utilities be located a minimum of twenty-four hours prior to the work being performed or in adequate time to review the locates before beginning the work.  It should request the locates be painted and flagged in accordance with the One Call System standards, using a color-coded identification system and 18” variance from either side of the mark. The request should also state the contractor is not responsible for non-located or mis-located utilities damaged during construction.  The request should also demand that the owner or owner’s representative contact the contractor in writing to notify the contractor of the existence and location of private utilities.

What happens if a private utility is damaged? 

Follow the current One-Call Notification and for damaged utilities.  This will assure that the utility is not a public utility and will reduce future liabilities.

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© 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.

© 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.