GRATIS — The Village of Gratis is joining an underground protection service one call center, per the law. According to Jason Broyles with Ohio Utilities Protection Services (OUPS), as of 2013 the law required anybody who owns or operates underground utilities to belong to a one call center. The Village of Gratis does not belong to one, and thus has been operating against the law. This is soon to change.
Broyles attended the Gratis Village council meeting on Thursday, July 27, to talk about OUPS, which is a nonprofit, and inform the council of the law and the services this center will provide.
“Primarily what I’m here for is, back in March of 2013 the State of Ohio got a mandate in the legislation that anybody who owns or operates underground utilities must belong as a member to a one call center. At this point in time, the Village of Gratis does not belong to a one call center and they do own and operate underground utilities,” he said. “For the most part I am here to offer our services and answer any questions you may or may not have on the company.
“We are a 45-year-old protection service. At this point in time, there are only two agencies in the State of Ohio who do underground protection services. At this junction in time, to be in line with the law, you would have to belong to our service, until somebody can start another protection service. With the ticket volume the Village of Gratis would have, you would be looking at a minimum of $50 a year for an annual registration fee and that is the minimum registration fee.”
Broyles brought a membership packet which he left with the village officials. The packet included step by step instructions explaining how to become a member of OUPS. He noted, the village would have total control of its account.
The Public Utilities Commission office also requires for grievance processes a $25 to $50 fee to help fund the process.
The village will have to submit a map of its lines. Broyles said village officials could just highlight the lines on a village map and OUPS’ mapping department could handle it free of charge, but if the village wants an official map it would have to hire someone.
The village has the option to submit what it has, and add new lines to the map at a later date.
Broyles added, the lines have to be “as accurate as possible.”
Council agreed to join the service and will be working on providing OUPS the information necessary.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH