FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A new area code will be introduced to parts of the Central Valley by the end of the year, but changes will only apply to new lines, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

The CPUC has announced that starting Nov. 28, 2022, any new numbers established within the geographical area that the 209 currently services, will be issued with the new 350 area code.

The CPUC says the second area code, called an overlay, is necessary to meet the demand for new telephone numbers.  Area code overlays provide an additional area code in the same region as an already existing area code.

The reason for the change is that the 209 area code is on track to run out of available prefixes (the first three numbers after the area code in a phone number) by the end of the year.

No change will occur to current numbers in the 209 area code, meaning phone numbers will remain the same.

Currently, the 209 area code serves portions of Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Escalon, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne counties.

The CPUC says that customers will continue to dial the three-digit area code for all calls to and from telephone numbers with the 209 and 350 area codes.

The 209 area code was created when it split off from the 415 area code in 1958. It was split again in 1997 to form the 559 area code. The 209 area code serves the cities of Angels Camp, Atwater, Ceres, Dos Palos, Galt, Gustine, Hughson, Ione, Lathrop, Livingston, Lodi, Los Banos, Manteca, Merced, Modesto, Newman, Oakdale, Patterson, Plymouth, Ripon, Riverbank, Sonora, Stockton, Tracy, Turlock, and Waterford. Additionally, the 209 area code also covers Yosemite National Park and Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

For those in the affected area, the CPUC offers these tips to help prepare for the area code overlay:

  • Contact security or alarm vendors to update dial-up numbers to avoid a break in security routines and contacts.
  • Reprogram equipment or features, i.e., automatic dial, speed dial, call forwarding, modems for computer or Internet dial-up access, etc.
  • Update items like stationery, checks, etc., to include your area code + telephone number.
  • Provide your area code and telephone number, not just the telephone number, as needed.
  • When asking for someone’s number, remember to ask for the area code, too.
  • Remember that the previous area code and the new area code will co-exist within the same geographic region.