Beginning Saturday, callers in the 717 area code will have to dial the area code plus the seven-digit number, a procedure that is used in most of Pennsylvania and the country.
The change will affect central Pennsylvania, including the parts of Berks and Schuylkill counties that are in the 717 area code.
The change is being made because the 16 counties that use the 717 area code are running out of phone numbers, and an another area code, 223, will be added, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said.
After the change is made, callers in the 717 area who try to make calls using only a seven-digit number will get a recorded announcement instructing them to hang up and redial using the area code plus the seven-digit number.
New numbers with the 223 overlay area code will not be released until Sept. 26. Requests for numbers with the 717 area code will continue to be honored as long as they are available, the PUC said.
Gladys M. Brown, chair of the PUC, recommended that people begin checking and preparing their devices that use pre-loaded phone numbers, such as medical alert and alarm systems, and changing them to the 10-digit numbers before Saturday.
The list of devices that consumers should check, to verify they are configured for 10-digit dialing, includes:
• Mobile phones, landline phones, tablets and fax machines that can save/store phone numbers.
• Life-safety and medical alert systems.
• Alarm/security systems and security gates.
• Call-forwarding settings and voicemail services.
• Internet dial-up systems.
• Automatic dialing equipment and software.
• Ankle monitors.
• Any other device that can save, store and automatically dial phone numbers.