Thursday, January 13, 2011

PUC Puts Hold on 814 Split

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) cast a 5-0 vote today to put on indefinite hold its December decision to split the 814 area code geographically after the agency received more than 40 petitions for reconsideration.

PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher says the commission decided to gather additional public input following complaints about the decision to split the 814 area geographically....
"Despite having public input hearings throughout the 814 area and having a public comment period, we really didn't hear from a lot of the area that would be seeing the new (area code) number and so, it was a lot of of those people upset by the PUC's decision."

The 814 area comprises all or parts of 27 Pennsylvania counties.
Kocher says no dates have been set for the additional hearings and information sessions...
"Possibly even explaining ourselves further, looking at the options that were available whether it was the geographic split or the all systems overlay. We know that no matter what decision we make people are not going to be happy."

Kocher says the PUC has 3 main options: reaffirming the original plan to split the area geographically, redrawing the lines of the split, and the overlay under which the new 582 area code would begin, no matter the geographic location in that area, once the 814 numbers run out. With the overlay, call callers would have to dial 10 digits whether or not that number has the same area code.

There is no statutory timeline for completing the new review. However the Commission could face a practical deadline. The 814 area code was originally projected to run out of telephone numbers in the first quarter of 2013. The Commissioners also will receive monthly updates concerning the projected exhaust date for the 814 area code.

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