News Releases

Sierra Pacific Earns Recognition for Preventing Damage to Gas Pipelines

May 20, 2008

Sierra Pacific Power's natural gas operations department has been recognized by the American Gas Association (AGA) as a top performer nationwide for preventing damage to gas pipelines by ensuring they are properly located and marked at construction sites. 

Among the 80 gas utilities evaluated through the AGA's Best Practices Program, Sierra Pacific was ranked in the top 25 percent for recording the least amount of damage per mile of main gas pipeline and the least amount of mis-marked underground gas line locations associated with construction projects. The utility was ranked in the top 50 percent for the least amount of damage per pipeline location conducted.

Sierra Pacific serves approximately 149,000 natural gas customers in the Reno-Sparks area and maintains over 2,000 miles of three-inch equivalent natural gas distribution pipes, as well a network of large gas mains up to 18 inches in diameter. The utility's technicians are guided by maps of the gas distribution system and use special equipment to identify the exact location of pipes. Line locations are then spray painted on the ground so construction crews will know where to dig safely. 

"This is an excellent achievement since Sierra Pacific serves a rapidly growing community, with a significant amount of new construction compared to many other cities,"said Sierra Pacific Power President Jeff Ceccarelli."It's a result of the dedication and hard work of our gas operations personnel in the areas of damage prevention and public safety."

Ceccarelli said the company's public education and contractor training programs are achieving positive results, along with the Sierra Pacific's partnership with other utilities, contractors and state utility regulators through the Nevada Regional Common Ground Alliance (NRCGA). The NRCGA is part of a nationwide association devoted to reducing damage to underground utility facilities in North America.

A year ago, the Common Ground Alliance announced the new 811 national"Call Before You Dig"telephone number. Anyone planning on doing excavation work - from homeowners digging post holes in the backyard to large building contractors - must call the 811 number to ensure underground utilities are properly located and marked before work begins. In 2007, Sierra Pacific received over 21,000 requests for gas line location assistance in the Truckee Meadows. For guidelines on when to call, visit the 811 website at

Headquartered in Reno, Nevada, Sierra Pacific Power Company is the principal electric utility for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources, which also is the holding company for Nevada Power Company, the electric utility for southern Nevada. Sierra Pacific Power also distributes natural gas in the Reno-Sparks area of northern Nevada.

For further information: Karl Walquist, (775) 834-3891