Permissive 10-Digit Dialing Begins in November for New 540/826 Overlay Area Code

Utilities

OCT 25, 2021

RICHMOND – Starting November 13, 2021, permissive 10-digit dialing will begin for Virginians living in the 540 area code region. This is the first step in a June 2020 relief plan approved by the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to phase in the new 826 area code. During the next six months, local calls can be made with either 7 or 10 digits, and all calls that are local will continue to be local even though you dial 10 digits.

The 540 area code encompasses the northwestern and southwestern portions of Virginia; some of the larger cities include Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Radford, Roanoke, Salem, Staunton, Waynesboro and Winchester.

In the coming months, the inventory of available phone numbers with "540" as the area code is expected to run out. The SCC approved an overlay, which is the addition of another area code (826) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (540). Beginning June 14, 2022, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 826 area code.

The good news: residents and businesses that already have phone numbers will get to keep them. No one’s 540 phone number will change.

And what do you need to do? Very little. Just start practicing dialing phone numbers using all 10 digits because, beginning May 14, 2022, local calls made in the 540 area code won't be connected if just 7 digits are dialed. You must use 10 digits (3-digit area code + the 7-digit telephone number) as of next May 14. One thing people can do to prepare for the switch is to update their cell phone contacts now, so that phone numbers they call regularly already will have the area code attached.

For more information on this topic, see: scc.virginia.gov/pages/540-Area-Code-Exhaust-Relief.

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Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

Case Number PUR-2019-00148 - Ex Parte: In the matter of the Commission’s investigation into exhaust relief for the 540 area code