Problems occur after area code switch |

Problems occur after area code switch

by Sally J. Taylor

Despite advance notice to prepare the public for the switch from area code 916 to 530, telephone companies have run into a few glitches.

Two weeks following the announced May 16 date to start 11-digit dialing from the California side to the Nevada side of South Shore, the switch was finally thrown.

Just days before, a formal request was made to the California Utilities Commission to postpone the change until December when the Nevada side also will receive a new area code.

With 11-digit dialing in effect, the extension was a moot point and the request was denied, according to Larry Manna of CompuWiz, who made the request.

The switch was thrown just before a weekend.

With the wrong message.

Instead of telling dialers they must dial the area code, the recording on calls from 530 to 702 said only that the number could not be connected as dialed.

People in Nevada calling California began hearing the area code message May 16.

It’s all a pain in the pocketbook for area businesses, especially Nevada businesses with visitors staying on the California side – visitors who may not be aware of the change.

The confusion gave Bill Chernock, director of marketing for the M.S. Dixie II and Zephyr Cover Resort, quite a headache.

“Our phones were deaf on the weekend (when the switch was made),” he said.

With 25 years of corporate experience, Chernock knew the phones should have been ringing regularly considering the time of year and the good weather that weekend in May.

Chernock estimates the resort lost between $8,000 to $10,000 in revenue that weekend because confused callers just hung up and gave up.

After a couple days “tilting with the dragon,” as Chernock called it, David Miller from Pacific Bell promised to get it taken care of.

And he did.

Now callers hear a less informal male voice, the kind you used to hear before all the computerized messages, telling dialers they must dial 1-702 before the number.

Last weekend was “much cleaner,” Chernock said. “A combination of a week to get used to it and the new recording seemed to make a big difference.”

Chernock also likes the sound of the replacement message. “They didn’t pull something off the shelf.”

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