By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The new year is bringing a new area code to the Sacramento region, and those new digits will mean more dialing.

Starting this year, the 279 area code will be overlayed into 916 area code territory.

Christine McCall has lived here for two decades.

“And it seems like its kind of crazy,” McCall said. “I mean, it’s kind of like dialing a long distance number, and you know, which it’s not.”

Everyone calling within the Sacramento region will now need to dial the area code with each call — dial ten digits or your call will be dropped.

“I think its kind of crazy,” McCall said.

The new ten-digit calls will also require re-programming of cell phones with stored numbers and reprogramming of services tied to phone numbers like life-safety systems, medical monitoring systems, security systems, and fire and burglar alarms.

Tim Sproul owns and operates the 911 dispatch center for more than a hundred alarm companies at Total Monitoring Systems and says thousands of customers will be affected.

“If their panel isn’t updated or replaced, they’re going to find out they no longer have protection,” Sproul said.

The California Public Utilities Commission announced the new area code in 2017 and began dispersing new 279 area code numbers to customers in September who requested new phone numbers.

The new 10-digit dialing process will be mandatory starting in February of 2018.

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