Area code 814 is running out of numbers, and the process of adding a new area code will begin this weekend.
Beginning on May 1, 2021, or when all possible 814 numbers are exhausted, the new overlay area code of 582 will be placed into service. Current numbers will not change, but new numbers will be assigned the 582 area code instead of 814.
Starting this weekend, residents of the region should begin dialing all ten digits of a phone number, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. This voluntary period is called “permissive dialing,” and will allow for a “get acquainted” period of six months when customers can get used to dialing all 10 digits.
As of April 3, 2021, ten-digit dialing will be required for all calls within the region.
For now, if one dials the seven digit number without the area code, the call will go through. However, as of April, the call will not be completed without the area code.
“Calls incorrectly dialed will get a recording letting the caller know that the area code must be used to complete the call,” the PUC indicated. “If customers do not use the correct area code after the intercept recording period, they may reach a wrong number or a recording.”
For example, should one be calling The Era newsroom, the PUC is asking residents to dial all ten digits — 814-362-6531 — starting this weekend.
“With an overlay, all current customers keep their same area code and telephone number,” the PUC indicated. “Numbers from the new area code may be assigned to new telephone customers or those adding additional lines.”
Customer education will be kicking off today, explained a spokesman for the PUC.
“Between now and the Spring of 2021, the PUC will work with consumers, business, community leaders, legislators and others across the region to help everyone prepare for the arrival of the new area code,” read a statement from the commission.
The 814 area code was established in 1947 and is one of Pennsylvania’s four original area codes. It includes cities such as Altoona, Erie, Johnstown and State College.
It covers all or parts of 27 counties, including Armstrong (northeastern portion only); Bedford; Blair; Cambria; Cameron; Centre (majority of the county); Clarion (all except portions of west); Clearfield; Clinton (small portions); Crawford (all except southwestern portion); Elk; Erie; Fayette (small portions); Forest; Fulton (western portions); Huntingdon (except Kishacoquillas Valley); Indiana (northern and eastern portions only); Jefferson; McKean; Mercer (extreme northeastern portion); Mifflin (extreme southwestern corner); Potter; Somerset; Tioga (western portions only); Venango (all except southeastern corner); Warren; and Westmoreland (extreme northeastern corner only).
It is the largest area code in the state and the last to undergo changes because existing phone numbers have been exhausted.