Voluntary 10-digit dialing will start Saturday

From staff reports

When dialing the telephone number for your neighbor, you’ll need to get in the habit of adding the area code, starting Saturday.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is reminding residents and businesses in the current 814 area code, which covers all or parts of 27 counties across central and northwestern Pennsylvania, that voluntary 10-digit dialing for local telephone calls will begin Saturday.

The start of voluntary (or permissive) 10-digit dialing marks the next major step toward the arrival of a new “overlay” area code – 582 – which will eventually serve side-by-side with the current 814 area code.

The 582 area code will be assigned to new telephone numbers once the available supply of numbers in the current 814 area code is exhausted.

Mandatory 10-digit dialing will begin in spring 2021.

Prepare devices

To begin preparing for 10-digit dialing, the PUC encourages consumers and businesses to check devices that store telephone numbers – including cellphones and other devices with “speed dial” functions – to be certain that all the stored contacts include the area code.

It is also important to check devices like medical alert systems, alarms and any other systems that automatically make calls, the PUC said, to be certain they are set up for 10-digit dialing.

Devices that should be checked to verify they are configured for 10-digit dialing, include:

– Mobile phones, landline phones and tablets and fax machines that can save/store phone numbers

– Life-safety and medical alert systems

– Alarm/security systems and security gates

– Call-forwarding settings and voicemail services

– Internet dial-up systems

– Automatic dialing equipment and software

– Speed-dialers

The PUC said the 10-digit dialing will be required for all calls starting April 3, 2021.

The new overlay area code will be placed into service May 1, 2021.