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Learn From the Unexpected with Eric Kolcinski of Centerpoint Energy

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The damage prevention industry isn’t always predictable, but Gopher State One Call believes that we can all learn from those unexpected moments and be safer for it.

That’s why we’ve introduced our Learn from the Unexpected series. These videos—featuring Minnesota damage prevention professionals just like you—will allow community members to share their stories so that we can all work smarter and safer, and help the industry grow.

Head to the Learn from the Unexpected website to check out our second video, featuring Eric Kolcinski, a damage prevention coordinator for CenterPoint Energy. In it, Eric explains how excavators can avoid the unexpected by being prepared in case of a buried utility damage.

How to Deal with a Damage

As damage prevention stakeholders, we are all focused on keeping people and property safe. And while everyone’s goal is zero damages, the reality is that damages do occur.

In the past five years in the United States and Canada, damages to buried utilities have increased or stayed relatively steady, according to the Common Ground Alliance, with 475,770 damage events reported via the CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool in 2020.

Eric Kolcinski, a damage prevention coordinator with CenterPoint Energy and the president of the Metropolitan Utility Coordinating Committee, points out that in Minnesota, overall damage numbers appear to be staying “roughly the same, as expressed in a ratio of damages per 1,000 tickets.” However, he adds, “there are localized fluctuations in certain types of damaging parties and damage root causes—i.e., an increase in homeowner damages during summer 2020 with people working remotely during COVID-19.”

In addition to investigating damages, Kolcinski works closely with excavators to help troubleshoot and educate in order to reduce them. Before he joined CenterPoint in 2016, he worked in line locator, lead tech and supervisor/managerial positions, becoming involved in all aspects of line locating, interacting with GSOC and Minnesota dig law, training locators and working with excavators and utility operators.

“Communication is the biggest tool in damage prevention,” Kolcinski says. “I see my day-to-day job as helping damage prevention stakeholders be able to clearly communicate with each other to avoid damaging buried facilities.” Here, he explains what happens when a damage does occur in Minnesota.

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2021 Ticket Summary and What’s Ahead in 2022

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.

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Presidents’ Day Closure: February 21, 2022

2022 GSOC HolidayBanner Presidents Day

Gopher State One Call will be closed Monday, February 21 in observance of Presidents’ Day.

Emergency calls are exempt from business hours and are always accepted, even on holidays.

All non-emergency locate requests can be submitted online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but are processed during business hours. Please keep in mind that any official holiday will not count toward your standard 48-hour notice when filing locate requests. Please plan accordingly.

Reminder: GSOC’s regular late fall/winter business hours for all ticket types are Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 5 PM.

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