(07/17/2008)
If you live in West Virginia, some big changes are coming in how you make a phone call.

Soon, 681 will be West Virginia's new area code, which will be assigned to new customers, only.

The rest will retain the old 304 area code.

West Virginia phone customers are urged to begin using the area code starting July 26, just to get accustomed to it.

That includes making local calls.

For local calls, people should dial the three digit area code and seven digit phone number, or 10 digits. To make a long-distance call on land lines, it will be necessary to dial 1 and then the area code and phone number.

Sarah Robertson with the Public Service Commission says the biggest question customers seem to have is whether they'll be charged more for a local call when they have to dial an area code.

The answer is no. Long distance rates will only apply to calls with 1 preceding the 10 digits.

Beginning February 28, 2009 it will be impossible to place even a local call without dialing an area code.

Beginning March 28, 2009 anybody signing up for new service or a new number could be assigned one with the new 681 area code.

This means the person who moves in next door to you could have a different area code.

The Public Service Commission voted last year to add a new area code to ensure West Virginia didn't run out of possible telephone numbers. Officials cited the large number of people with multiple phone numbers - for home and business, and for landlines, cell phones and fax machines.


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