Some Tri-State phone customers want to keep their 812 area code - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Regulators debate new area code, phone customers want to keep their 812

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Tuesday night, phone customers in the Tri-State told state regulators they want to keep their 812 area code. 

It has to do with the hassle of telling everyone you know that your number has changed.
New number combinations for the 812 area code are set to run out in 2015, and the state has two plans it hopes will make for a smooth transition.

"I'd just hate to see anything like that change because it's been this way for so long," James Thorbecke said.    

Thorbecke, a business owner, wants to keep the area code his customers have been dialing for more than 60 years.

"All my business cards and all my invoices and things I send out, statements, all have that information,"  Thorbecke said.    

Thorbecke was one of three people who spoke at a public hearing, testifying to the commission about the three numbers they don't want changed.

"Everyone is going to be affected one way or the other. "The issue's not whether or not there will be a new area code. There will. The question is how is it going to be implemented," Thorbecke said. 

Of two options, commission members said an overlay plan is the most popular. It would only give a new area code to new phone customers.

The other is a geographical split, where half of existing 812 customers would have to make a change.

"Its too early to tell, number one, which option the commission will choose, and two, if a split is chosen, where the line will be drawn," said Anthony Swinger, the IURC Director of External Affairs. 

"I'm afraid if they change the area code, some of the people may not be able to contact me. If they couldn't get a hold of me, I'd lose business," Thorbecke said.

The commission have the final say on the plan and a decision is expected later this year.

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