You’re not alone. It’s as if the locating industry didn’t understand that Michigan has a construction program that starts in the spring as soon as frost laws permit! MITA has and will continue to push hard to get tickets located in a timely manner for members.
Despite the record number of locate requests, (which MITA feels could be a simple result of additional calls for locates that were not completed on time or restake requests being made when additional assistance should have been requested instead), the law is the law, and we as an industry should be able to rely on the 72-hour promise Public Act 174 provides for. MITA has been involved in numerous conversations with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) regarding the epic hiccup of the system this spring. MISS DIG has formed a committee to discuss the issue, but none of these efforts will put paint or flags on the ground in a timely manner.
MISS DIG suggested that you time you ticket request with the dig start date, instead of relying on the 72 business hours the law requires. MITA has been told by numerous members that that numbers game still wasn’t paying off, especially if you were trying to start work on the west side of state.
The fix is easy. MITA understands the locating community’s plight: who wants to hire dozens of extra people and train them for what amounts to a month of heavy ticket volume? Locating companies, for the most part, are large multi-state organizations, and they have brought people in from other areas to help before. The problem is they wait until they are so far behind to take appropriate staffing measures to address the need.
You do have options. Your best option is to call (evidently you can’t submit electronically for additional assistance) and the law requires that a facility owner SHALL provide assistance within 3 hours or a mutually agreed upon time. Please do not call in another ticket for a ticket that has not been staked because the 72-hour clock will start again. Also, do not call in for a restake, which is essentially a 24-hour clock. Additional assistance is what you need when a ticket has gone unmarked.
Another option is Section 8 of the Act which provides for “Damages and Equitable Relief”. This part of the act states: “This act does not limit the right of an excavator, facility owner, or facility operator to seek legal relief and recovery of actual damages incurred and equitable relief in a civil action arising out of a violation of the requirements of this act”. In essence, document and go to court if the pain in your pocketbook gets to a point where it makes sense to try and recover your losses. You could also file a complaint with the MPSC and many have already this spring, which may get the locator and or facility owner fined, but does nothing to rectify your problem. Whatever your path, MITA stands ready to help you navigate the system the best we can.
Please contact Rob Coppersmith, VP of Membership Services, to vent or ask for advice on this matter. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 517-347-8336.