The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has scheduled additional public hearings to receive further input on the effects of both the geographic split and overlay options designed to ensure adequate numbering resources in the 814 area code.

Administrative law judge Katrina L. Dunderdale will conduct the hearing in this area on Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. at Arlington Hotel, 1 Seneca St., Oil City.

The public is encouraged to attend the public input hearings, where residents will have the opportunity to present remarks that will become part of the record upon which the commission will base its final decision.

The PUC and state Office of Consumer Advocate offer tips on how to participate in public input hearings. They include:

-Prepare what you are going to say beforehand. Even though it is not required, you may want to write out your statement, which can be read.

-Bring copies. If you have a written statement you would like to give to the judge as evidence, please bring two copies for the court reporter and several copies for the other participants.

- Plan to be questioned. Parties in the case may want to ask you a question to clarify something you said.

History of the change

Following an announcement by third party area code relief planner, Neustar, that the new projected exhaust date for the 814 area code is the first quarter of 2015, not the first quarter of 2013, the commission is moving forward with public input hearings, and has suspended the timeline for implementation of area code relief. Neustar notifies the commission of projected exhaust dates of “NXX” codes (which is the second set of three digits in a 10-digit telephone number (NPA-NXX-XXXX).

The commission considered the June 2009 Neustar petition recommending an overlay in 814, historical and forecasted data on current numbering resources and comments received from the public through hearings and written submissions. During the time period from June 2009 until December 2010, the PUC received input from the public providing various comments supporting both the geographic split and overlay options available to the commission. Therefore, on Dec. 16, 2010, the PUC approved a plan to split the 814 area code along geographic boundaries to avoid running out of phone numbers, creating a new area code for customers in portions of northwestern Pennsylvania. Neustar chose 582 as the new area code for the northwestern part of Pennsylvania.

The commission has reopened the record on the case and is currently reviewing more than 40 petitions for reconsideration, holding technical conferences and public input hearings. Relief alternatives include an overlay of a new area code and various geographic splits of the existing area code running east to west, north to south or northeast to southeast.  A Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet and map of the proposed 814/582 exchanges are available on the PUC website.

 

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