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National Grid is part of coalition sponsoring California Chrome's jockey, Victor Espinoza, with the "Call 811 Before You Dig" message

Hicksville, N.Y. (June 2, 2014) – National Grid has a local connection to California Chrome, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, who will attempt to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978 when he runs in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 7 in Elmont, N.Y.

National Grid’s connection to California Chrome comes via the horse’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, who has worn the “Call 811” message on his pants, turtleneck and boots the past two races, raising awareness of the national “call before you dig” phone number. National Grid is a member of Common Ground Alliance, the national association that promotes the 811 phone number.

The 811 service helps homeowners and professionals who plan to dig notify multiple utility companies with one phone call. Everyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one call notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies.

Professional utility locating technicians will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities increases the likelihood of an unintentional damage, which can cause serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs.

“I’ve only been wearing the ‘Call 811’ message for a few weeks, but I’ve quickly been educated on how important it is for the safety of everyone who digs,” said Espinoza. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to remind millions of horse racing fans about how important it is to know what’s below and call 811 before they dig. A buried utility is damaged every six minutes because someone decided to dig without calling 811, and I hope my involvement with the ‘Call 811’ campaign can help improve those figures.”

An estimated combined television audience of more than 25 million people saw the 811 logo during NBC’s race coverage of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, leading to near-record high visits to Call811 on both days. The television audience for the Belmont Stakes is expected to approach 20 million, due to the popularity of California Chrome and the unprecedented 36-year Triple Crown drought that viewers hope to see come to an end.

“When we got involved with this cooperative sponsorship, we saw it as an opportunity to promote an important safety service in a new and exciting way,” said Laurie Brown, Director, Network Strategy Gas for National Grid and Board President for Dig Safely New York. “It’s clear that California Chrome is a special horse, and to have the chance to be associated with a talented jockey like Victor Espinoza gives us the opportunity not just to earn more exposure for the 811 phone number and the safety message it sends, but to potentially be associated with history.”

For more information about 811, please visit .

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.

In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country. 

National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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About Common Ground Alliance

CGA is a member-driven association of 1,500 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at .