PSC urges caregivers to assist those who may have difficulty with new calling rules that take effect in February 2014
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2013) – With mandatory 10-digit dialing coming soon to Western Kentucky as the result of a new area code, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) is urging caregivers to help elderly residents and others who might have difficulty making the transition to the new dialing patterns.
“The PSC recognizes that some customers might have trouble adjusting to 10-digit dialing,” said PSC Chairman David Armstrong. “We encourage family, friends and others who care for such customers to assist them with the transition.”
An effective way to ease 10-digit dialing is with technology, Armstrong said.
“A variety of programmable landline telephones are available,” he said. “They can store dozens of numbers and allow frequently used numbers to be dialed by pushing a single button.
“If you think someone you know is going to find it difficult to adjust to 10-digit dialing, help them obtain an appropriate telephone and then help them to program it and learn how to use it,” Armstrong said.
Mandatory 10-digit dialing begins in two months, when area code 364 is added to the same geographic area as the current area code 270.
A six-month “permissive dialing” period began in August. Customers now can dial either seven or 10 digits when making local calls in area code 270. Mandatory 10-digit-dialing of local calls begins Feb. 1, 2014.
The permissive dialing period allows Western Kentucky customers to get used to the new dialing pattern and permits telecommunication providers to prepare and test equipment in advance of the establishment of the new area code.
An informational video about the permissive dialing period is available on the PSC YouTube channel at youtube.com/KYPSC.
Area code 364 was created in December 2012 when the PSC decided that the best way to meet the need for more telephone numbers in area code 270 was through the creation of an overlay, which superimposes a new area code over an existing area code.
The overlay option is the least disruptive for all customers and imposes the smallest cost on businesses in the area, the PSC said in its order creating area code 364. This is the first area code in Kentucky created by an overlay.
“Keep in mind that an overlay does not change current area code 270 numbers; everyone can keep their current number,” Armstrong said. “The only change is the 10-digit dialing requirement for local calls.”
Current dialing patterns remain in effect until Jan. 31, 2014. However, customers who wish to use the new dialing patterns before then may do so. Calls will be connected either way.
During the permissive dialing period, local calls within area code 270 (as well as local calls to numbers outside area code 270) may be dialed using either 7 or 10 digits – that is, with or without the area code. Dialing 1 for local calls is not necessary now and will not be necessary after Feb. 1, 2014. Local calls will not become long-distance calls.
In its December 2012 order, the PSC noted that public comments received in the case overwhelmingly favored an overlay. The other option was to split area code 270 and designate a portion as area code 364, with both landline and wireless customers in the affected portion required to change their area code as a result.
The PSC noted that area code overlays have become the preferred method for creating new area codes nationwide. Overlays pose the fewest technical issues for implementation by an increasing complex telecommunication industry, the PSC said.
The first numbers using area code 364 may be assigned beginning March 3, 2014. Area code 270 numbers can be assigned after that date, but their availability will depend on how many remain in the inventory of each individual service provider.
Service providers in area code 270 are required by the PSC to educate their customers about the changes resulting from the new area code.
All records in the area code case are available on the PSC website, psc.ky.gov. The case number is 2012-00129.
The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 90 employees.