Public vs Private Locates

What’s the difference between Public and Private Locates?

Down Under Pipe & Cable Locating Inc. is a private locating company. This means that we are legally able to locate and clear excavation projects regarding Prive Utilities only. The “all clear” to dig around Public Utilities must be given by a Public Utility Company, reachable for free through Ontario One Call.

Most people assume that utilities are deemed public or private based on property lines, but this is not the case at all.


Service utility lines are designed “public” when the providing utility company is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the transmission lines. The designation ends at the demarcation point, typically a valve, a meter, or a transformer. Transmission of a service beyond this point is the responsibility of the end consumer. We refer to this part of a service as the Private Utility.


Consider a natural gas utility at a manufacturing plant. The gas main that services everyone is obviously a Public line. The branch off the mainline to the meter is also considered a Public line even though it services only one customer and is almost certainly buried on private property. Any type of excavation in the vicinity of the gas main or the branch leading to the meter must be cleared by a Public Locator. This is a free service offered by Ontario One Call. Natural gas lines beyond the meter put into service the various building and machinery of the manufacturing facility are the responsibility of the facility’s owner and are therefore deemed Private Utilities. These Private lines will not be located by the Ontario One Call service but can be located by Private Locate companies such as Down Under Pipe and Cable Locating Inc.

A note about Locating for Design

Please be aware that the restriction only exists when locating utilities for the purpose of excavation. Utility locating for design purposes poses no restriction and Down Under Pipe and Locating Inc. has the technology, the experience, and the understanding to local all concealed utilities.