Area code changes in San Fernando Valley

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, Calif. Beginning May 18, new phone lines and services in the 818 area code which covers the San Fernando Valley, will be given the new 747 area code.

But starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, people with personal or business phone numbers containing the 818 area code will have to dial 1, then 818 for all local calls. That is because the two area codes serve the same region

All automatic dialing systems that use a 7-digit telephone number need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedure. Examples are life safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, cell phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, and voicemail.

Phone numbers on business or personal websites, business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and on pet identification tags should also be updated to ensure the area code is included.

"Just have to reprogram the phones because I don't know my children's numbers anyway, I just press 4 or 5 or 6 for the speed dial so we just have to change that over," said Lynette Sperber, who has an 818 phone number.

The California Public Utilities Commission said customers need not worry because making a phone call from the 818 area code to a 747 phone number will not be considered a long distance phone call and will not be charged as such. Existing telephone numbers, including current area code, will also not change.

"I don't think it's any big deal, we already do have to dial all those digits anyway if you're calling 213 or 323 or anything else, so I don't think it's a big deal, "said Jeff Myer, who has an 818 phone number.

"What can you do? Deal with it, so I think it's fine," he said.

The addition of the 747 area code was needed just to keep up with demand and the growing population of the San Fernando Valley.

Because of all the competition, you know cable companies, wireless providers and other companies coming into the marketplace, which is good for consumers, you need a lot more numbers in the supply to provide all those companies with a pool of numbers to give to customers," said Jon Davies of Verizon.



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