SAN FRANCISCO, June 9, 2017 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today reminded residential and business customers served by the 916 area code to prepare for the introduction of the new 279 area code overlay. The 279 area code will be added as an “overlay” to the 916 region to ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers for the area. An “overlay” is the addition of another area code (279) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (916).

Unlike the previous 916 area code relief plan in 1997, where the 916 area code was split, thus requiring some customers to undergo an area code change, an overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code and it does not change the price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services. However, the overlay does require customers with telephone numbers from the 916 or 279 area codes to dial “1” plus the three-digit area code and seven-digit telephone number on every call, including calls within the same area codes. Consumers may begin to use this new dialing procedure on August 12, 2017, when residents and businesses with a 916 area code telephone number may begin dialing 1+ area code + seven digit telephone number when making all local calls. The new dialing procedure will become mandatory for all residential and business consumers on February 10, 2018. Beginning March 10, 2018, consumers requesting new or additional telephone numbers for services may be assigned telephone numbers with either the new 279 area code or the original 916 area code, depending on available telephone number inventory.

To prepare for the area code overlay, starting August 12, 2017, consumers and businesses with the 916 region should:
Begin dialing 1 + area code + telephone number for all calls starting August 12, 2017.

Reprogram equipment or features that currently use 7-digit dialing to dial 1+area code + telephone number, such as automatic dialers, life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, speed-dialing, call forwarding, voicemail services, modems for computer or Internet dial-up access, etc.

Advise family, friends, and business contacts with 916 numbers to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all calls.

Ensure that alarm and security door and gate systems are reprogrammed to dial 1 + area code + telephone number.

Test telephone equipment, such as a PBX or fax machine, to determine if it can dial and receive 1 + area code + telephone number. Questions regarding changes in telephone equipment should be directed to telephone equipment vendors.

Update items such as stationery, checks, business cards, advertisements, promotional items, brochures, Internet web pages, personal and pet ID tags, and catalogs to reflect the area code if they don’t include the area code already.

Consumers will still be able to dial just three digits to reach 911, 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711, and 811.

California and other states have successfully implemented more than 60 area code overlays throughout the United States to meet the continual growing demand for more telephone numbers.

The 916 area code, created in 1947, serves the greater Sacramento area, which includes parts of El Dorado, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, Placer, and Sacramento Counties. The 916 area code serves the cities of Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin and Roseville in Placer County; Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Isleton, Rancho Cordova, and Sacramento in Sacramento County; and the City of West Sacramento in Yolo County. The 916 area code is bordered on the north and east by the 530 area code, to the west by the 707 area code, and to the south by the 925 area code and the 209 area code.
The 916 area code decision is available at :http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M176/K013/176013970.PDF.

For more information, consumers and businesses should contact their telephone service provider or visit: www.cpuc.ca.gov/916areacode.

For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.