On January 30th, 1974 an agreement between the City of Dover, the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company, the Delmarva Power and Light Company, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, the Delaware Electric Cooperative, and the Diamond State Telephone Company was signed to create a “Call Center”. The purpose of this “Call Center” was to provide a single telephone number “whereby those persons, firms, corporations, and other entities intending to excavate, drill, blast, or otherwise disturb the subsurface of the earth within an area consisting of the Delmarva Peninsula” could notify the above mentioned parties of this intent. It would then be up to the “Principle Parties” to “take whatever action they may deem appropriate to prevent damage to their respective facilities”. The “Call Center” was located at 146 South State Street, Dover, Delaware, in a facility owned and operated by the Diamond State Telephone Company. All the 6 principal parties were assessed a portion of the cost that was eventually based on their mileage of pipeline or cable that was covered. There was no cost per ticket.
That first year operation, the “Call Center” received a total of 6,347 requests for locates. In 1998, the current call center exceeded that number every month with the exception of February. The total ticket count received in 1998 exceeded 100 thousand for the first time in the history of this organization. The total ticket count in 2011 exceeded 7,500 every month, and totaled 130,103 requests for locates last year. In 2016 we received 186,589 locate requests generating 1,278,670 locate tickets, our busiest year ever!
The organization was incorporated in 1987, and was named the “Utilities Services Protection Center of Delmarva, Inc.” The Diamond State Telephone Company eventually became unable to operate the center and bids were taken for an outside contractor to operate the center. In January of 1988 a contract was signed with One Call Concepts of Laurel, Maryland to operate the center. The center was moved from its old location to the OCC facility and began operation in February of 1988. The contract with One Call Concepts was extended and they currently remain our call center.
As we assist excavators, facility owners, and the public in the prevention of underground damages, we are faced with many challenges. These challenges include increasing excavator participation, exploring the use of an enforcement agency as prescribed by law, and meeting Federal guidelines and programs regarding the operation of a One Call Center.
With your help and the effort and cooperation of all parties involved, we can move forward into this new territory with confidence and provide our communities with the safety that they deserve.
Thank you and please come to our meetings and participate in the discussions. Without your input, we will stay the same.