First step of phasing in new area code begins next month

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - People in the Valley will soon have to change their dialing habits as a new area code is being introduced to the region.

“This is part of what’s called an overlay, which is introducing a new area code, in this case 826, to a geographic region that already has one, 540,” Ford Carson, Communications Specialist for State Corporation Commission, said.

Back in 2019, the SCC was notified that the 540 area code was on track to use all available numbers by 2022.

“A June 2020 relief plan [was] approved by the State Corporation Commission in order to phase in the new 826 area code,” Carson explained.

Everyone in the northwestern and southwestern parts of Virginia will have to make sure they are including the area code, even when making a local call.

That phase-in process begins November 13 with a practice period.

“Just start getting into the habit of that, and consider updating your cellphone contacts as well, so the numbers you call regularly already have the area code attached,” Carson said.

Starting May 14, if the area code is not included, the call will not be connected.

June 14 is when we may start seeing the 826 area code be assigned to new phone lines.

“Residents and businesses that already have phone numbers will get to keep them. No one’s 540 number will change,” Carson said.

The SCC says choosing to overlay the new area code will get callers in the habit of using 10-digit dialing for every call, and it will minimize call routing issues.

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