The most common question we get asked is, what is the difference between public and private locates when working on privately owned property? The key to identifying what’s public vs what’s private is knowing who owns the buried utility infrastructure on private property. The key is knowing where the DEMARCATION POINT is located. However, this can be tricky and requires a little bit of background knowledge.
So first, what is a DEMARCATION POINT? A demarcation point is where a public service ends, and a private service starts on privately owned property.
A public buried facility on private property that provides gas, power, communication, water, and sewer is owned by the company that provides the service, for example, Enbridge provides homes with natural gas and the gas line is owned by Enbridge. A private utility is owned by the property owner such as a homeowner and these are located after the DEMARCATION POINT. So, how do you spot the demarcation point?
The following are typical DEMARCATION POINTS:
GAS - GAS METER - Gas Utility Owners will typically locate and mark their utility infrastructure up to the gas meter on the property.
WATER - WATER VALVE – The town or municipality will locate and mark their utility infrastructure to the water valve or curb box.
POWER - VARIES - The demarcation point for the main power feed to a property varies between power utility owners. Typical power demarcation points can include the power meter, transformer, hydro pole at the street, buried power vault or sometimes the point of entry into the building.
COMMUNICATION – TELECOM DEMARCATION BOX OR BUILDING POINT OF ENTRY - Communication utilities will locate and mark their larger commercial and industrial cables and fibre optic cables to the demarcation box or the point of entry at the building. However, most communication utility owners will not mark their smaller copper coaxial or twisted pair service wires to residential homes or businesses. A common practice for utility owners is to issue an all clear and fix the cable free of charge if you damage it as long as you have a valid locate.
SEWER - PROPERTY LINE – Towns and municipalities will sometimes locate the storm and sanitary sewers up to the private property line.