Shovels for Scoops is back—just in time for summer! Find a mini shovel hidden around town and you will learn the importance of calling 811 before every digging project. The best part is trading in your shovel for a free cone at a local ice cream shop!

“We love the community support we received during last year’s ‘Shovels’ promotion and are super excited to bring it back again this year,” said Denise Machado, WG+E Manager of Regulatory Compliance at Westfield Gas + Electric/Whip City Fiber. “It’s important to us that we raise awareness about the need to call 811 before digging. The call is easy and free. And if we can bring some smiles with a little ice cream, then we’re happy to do it!”

When do you need to make that free call? The answer is simple: whenever you put a shovel in the ground. Projects like installing a fence, a new light post or mailbox all require a call to 811, as does landscaping or hardscaping of any kind, building a deck or patio, installing a pool, etc. Once the call is placed, it is routed to a one-call center that alerts local utility companies of the proposed dig site. Technicians from these companies will mark out the gas, electric, communication, etc., service lines with flags and paint so that homeowners and excavators can know where the buried lines are located and can avoid that area. Massachusetts law states that calls must be made at least 72 hours before any digging begins. Once the lines are marked and 72-hours have expired, the project can get underway.

“We want everyone in our community to be safe and to help share this safety message. Doing so can keep you, your family, and neighbors out of harm’s way, prevent damage to buried utilities, and save on costly fines and service interruptions,” Machado continued. “It is our hope that this promotion helps us to spread that message even farther and that we have a little fun at the same time.”

Shovels For Scoops will continue through summer, and shovels can be redeemed for a free scoop of ice cream through September 30th at Mr. Whipy’s Golf Acres (Union St.) and Northside Creamery (Southampton Rd.) Hints to the shovel locations will appear on WG+E social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter). Follow these pages to see when the next drop of shovels will be, then go find yours! And remember: Safety is in your hands. Every dig. Every time.

More information about 811 can be found on the Safety page of our website, or at