Griffo Applauds Delay of New Area Code


UTICA – The state Public Service Commission has tabled its proposal to split the 315 area code until at least the third quarter of 2016, state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo announced today.

“People in my district spoke loudly and with one united voice: Splitting our 315 area code or adding new numbers from our region to a different area code would be a major inconvenience,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “The Commission heard that input, and I’m pleased it recognizes that such a change would be a potential safety and security hazard, as well as a financial blow to affected businesses.”

Senator Griffo has been outspoken against adding a new area code in the 18-county region, speaking with PSC Chairman Garry A. Brown and staff several times about this specific issue. Public hearings have been held throughout Griffo’s district - including Rome, Lowville and Potsdam. The senator also encouraged his constituents to give their feedback about the proposed change to the PSC this summer.

The senator and six of his colleagues also detailed their opposition to the PSC’s proceedings in an October letter to the state agency. The lawmakers argued that both plans would create confusion and frustration among residents and could result in potential lost revenue for businesses. They also noted that the move was premature, since there were still hundreds of thousands of numbers unassigned, unused or inexplicably unavailable.

The most recent estimate, from 2008, suggests just one-third of the area code’s available numbers were actually in use. For example, the independent Public Utility Law Project of New York found there are 40,000 numbers assigned to Star Lake, a hamlet home to about 800 people.

“I will continue to urge the Commission to do whatever possible to either reclaim unused numbers or conserve what is left,” said Griffo. “Splitting the code or adding an overlay shouldn’t even be considered until all other options are exhausted.”