old-cell-phone.jpgThe California Public Utilities Commission is holding public hearings today and Thursday on plans to add a new area code to the current “415” area code zone.

In light of projections that all of the available three-digit prefixes in the 415 area code will be used up by October 2015, the CPUC is beginning the process of introducing a new area code — 628 — to the region.

The commission is holding public meetings to get input on the plan.

The first meeting, which will include a presentation to local and elected officials, is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the CPUC Auditorium at 505 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco.

The officials will be able to respond to the presentation, but public comment will not be received until a separate 7 p.m. hearing today at the same location, CPUC spokesman Christopher Chow said.

On Thursday, the CPUC will hold public meetings at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in San Rafael City Council chambers at 1400 Fifth Ave. in San Rafael.

The CPUC can choose to either split the 415 region into two parts, forcing some residents to switch area codes, or assign the new 628 area code only to new numbers, which is called an overlay.

Representatives of the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, a neutral third-party area code relief planner for the state, met in September with service providers to discuss the options, and the industry consensus was to implement the overlay plan, according to the CPUC.

The 415 area code covers San Francisco and Marin County.

People unable to attend the meetings can submit written comments to the CPUC public advisor’s office at 320 W. Fourth St., Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90013, or via email to public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov.

Comments can also be submitted online at www.cpuc.ca.gov/415.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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