Starting today, May 2, North County residents should dial 1 plus the 760 area code to make local calls to get into the habit of doing so before it becomes mandatory Oct. 24.
The 11-digit dialing procedure will be mandatory for all residential and business customers with a 760 area code, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.
The change follows a decision by the CPUC last year to create a so- called overlay that will allow residents who already have a 760 area code to keep that number, but will assign 442 to new customers.
Beginning Nov. 21, the new 442 area code will be assigned to those who request a new telephone number or an additional line. Residents and businesses that already have a 760 number will retain the area code.
A new area code is needed in the North County because population growth and the proliferation of wireless phones has nearly exhausted numbers in the 760 area code.