The new 820 area code will start being assigned in June 2018 and extra dialing will be required to reach existing 805 numbers

The California Public Utilities Commission approved an area code overlay for the 805 region, and will be assigning the 820 area code to new numbers in the area starting in June 2018. (CPUC photo)

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor 

Santa Barbara County and the rest of the 805 area code region will get an additional area code starting next year, the California Public Utilities Commission decided late last month.

The 805-prefaced phone numbers serve most of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, as well as parts of Monterey and Kern counties. The new area code, 820, will start being issued to new numbers in that region in June 2018, according to the CPUC. Existing numbers will keep the 805 area code.

Since there will be two area codes serving the same geographical area, Santa Barbarans and other 805-ers will have to start using a new dialing procedure (1 + 10-digit phone numbers) for local numbers starting next May.

Customers have the option to start using the new dialing procedure this November, the CPUC said.

The change was prompted by the shortage of 805 numbers, and the CPUC considered the overlay, which adds an area code to a region, and a geographic split option, where new and existing numbers in one half of the region would be given a new area code.

The overlay option was approved by the CPUC on May 25 and representatives held a public meeting in Santa Barbara in August regarding the plans.

Ahead of the change, the CPUC suggests people reprogram equipment to dial 1 + area code + number instead of seven digits; advise family members, friends and others to dial using the new method; when asking for someone else’s number, remember to ask for the area code too; and update items like stationary and checks to include the area code and phone number.

— Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at The Santa Ynez Valley Star and Noozhawk have a collaborative partnership, look for SYV Star stories on Noozhawk and vice versa!