The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is seeking public input into the addition of a new area code in 740 portions of Central and Southern Ohio. PUCO announced the beginning of the new area code process today:

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has opened a proceeding that will lead to the creation of a new area code in all or portions of the 740 area code, which comprise central and southeast Ohio.

The PUCO has been notified by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) that the 740 area code is projected to run out of available phone numbers by the second quarter of the year 2015. NANPA oversees the distribution of telephone numbers and assigns area codes for the entire United States.

"The PUCO is encouraging Ohioans in the 740 area code to engage with us during this process, to reach an outcome that ultimately serves them best," stated PUCO Chairman Todd A. Snitchler. "Through a consumer survey on our website, individuals can vote on their preference on an overlay or split option for the 740 area code and provide comments that will be part of the official record in this case. We want to hear from those who will be affected."

There are two viable options under consideration in the case being looked at by the PUCO to address the 740 area code issue: Option one involves an overlay. An overlay would permit retention of all current 740 numbers, but require 10-digit dialing for local calls within the 740 area. All new subscribers would receive the new area code.

Option two involves a split. Under a split, seven-digit dialing of local calls would remain within the area code, but would require approximately half of wireless and landline customers within the current area code to change their telephone numbers.

Additional information about the 740 area code matter is available on the PUCO's website at along with the consumer survey that can be completed and submitted online. The PUCO Call Center is also available to answer questions by calling 1-800-686-PUCO (7826). In addition, comments can be submitted by mail to the PUCO at 180 East Broad Street, Columbus OH 43215. The public comment period in the case will close on Nov. 27th.