From a global pandemic to extraordinary weather events, 2020 was a record-setting year in many ways, including for the Minnesota damage prevention industry.
Each year, Gopher State One Call compiles ticket submission and transmission volume data. This information is shared to help make correlations and gain insights about the state of Minnesota’s damage prevention efforts.
Here are some of the noteworthy numbers from this truly unprecedented year:
- 941,358 total tickets were filed through GSOC in 2020. This is a 10.9% increase over 2019 tickets—and the highest number in the history of GSOC. There were 793,639 Normal tickets, 15,033 Emergency tickets and 19,131 Meet tickets filed.
- May was the highest-volume month of 2020, with 124,454 tickets during that month alone. June was close behind with 122,439 tickets.
- Even the lowest-volume month of 2020, February (17,403 tickets) showed an 18.4% increase over February 2019.
- 83.1% of tickets in 2020 were submitted online (an 8.2% increase over 2019). This shift was especially helpful as GSOC call center customer service representatives pivoted to working from home in the spring.
- 46.1% of tickets were for locations in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, while 53.9% were in greater Minnesota
- There were 110,239 homeowner-submitted tickets (11.7% of total volume). Of those, 38% were from the seven-county metro and 62% from greater Minnesota
Make sure to check out the Gopher State One Call 2020 Annual Report for more details about ticket numbers, trends and financial information.
Get a closer look at the state of damage prevention by watching this year’s virtual Damage Prevention Meeting educational videos, available on the GSOC website. Ticket activity for 2020 is covered in Module 3.
What’s in Store for 2021
Gopher State One Call is projecting a 1.1% increase in ticket volume in 2021. Ticket volume for January 2021 already indicates that growth will be strong this year, and if that projection comes to fruition, it will mean another record-setting year for GSOC.
In addition to a probable increase in homeowner and infrastructure projects, one industry that may see growth is telecom, as virtual working, learning, socializing and health care become the way of the world. The shift toward remote activities during COVID-19 of course requires better, faster internet.
“The need for speed and internet access is driving customer demand for services, due in part to work at home/school at home,” says Chris Fry, manager, regional operations for Lumen (formerly CenturyLink). “As for the telecom industry in Minnesota, fiber deployment is expected to make great strides, but I can’t provide insight to areas we don’t serve, or what our competitors may be doing.”
While some of the state is served by aerial facilities (thus not requiring locates) and annual budgets and project schedules are not finalized, Fry notes that there are at least two large projects scheduled for 2021: one for 280,000 feet of fiber in southern Minnesota and another for 100,000 feet in northern Minnesota. He adds that in 2020, Lumen received 707,830 tickets from Gopher State One Call for enterprise and consumer networks.
The growth in 2020 and the projected growth for 2021 mean that it will be increasingly important that all stakeholders plan their excavations, effectively communicate plans and execute jobs efficiently.
On bigger projects, GSOC reminds excavators to utilize Non-Excavation and Meet tickets to help facilitate planning and communication. Meet tickets are recommended for large, complex projects, projects that last longer than a month and projects where sections will need to be marked at different times. If you haven’t already, read up on tips for deciding when to use a Meet ticket, as well as guidelines for handling Meet tickets safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don’t forget that Gopher State One Call’s handbook has been updated for 2021. View or download it on the GSOC website.