DUE TO AN EDITING ERROR, THE TEMPORARY EXCHANGE SERVICE, A TEMPORARY PERSONNEL SERVICE IN RESTON, WAS MISIDENTIFIED IN AN ARTICLE IN WEDNESDAY'S METRO SECTION ABOUT TELEPHONE RATES IN WESTERN FAIRFAX COUNTY. (Published 9/19/87)

About 100,000 western Fairfax residents who pay long-distance telephone rates for calls to suburban Maryland may have their rates for those calls reduced soon, Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. officials said yesterday.

C&P spokesman Harry Doyle said the company has agreed to allow those residents -- in Reston, Herndon and other areas outside the local Washington metropolitan calling area -- to vote for a plan that would replace long-distance rates for all calls to suburban Maryland with a 50-cent monthly surcharge for unlimited calls.

Ballots will be mailed to consumers Oct. 1. The plan would have to be approved by the Virginia and Maryland utility regulatory agencies and the Federal Communications Commission.

State Del. James H. Dillard II (R-Fairfax), who has twice introduced state bills to enlarge the toll-free zone, called C&P's decision a breakthrough that residents have awaited for years.

The boundary that keeps a portion of western Fairfax outside the local Washington calling area, Dillard said, "was drawn when there were all farmers out here. Now the line goes through the middle of subdivisions. People on one side of the street have to pay tolls and those on the other side do not."

"It would be marvelous" if the 50-cent option is approved, said Sue Lewis Blocher, the owner of Temporary Exchange Service, an unemployment agency in Reston. "We are serving accounts in Rockville and we're constantly calling Maryland. One of our employes even lives there."

Last month, Blocher's telephone bill was $638.04. Pages and pages of the bill included Maryland charges such as a 15-minute call to Rockville for $3.79.

More than 50 percent of those polled by C&P must reply and a majority of those replies must favor the change for the measure to be forwarded to the two-state utility regulatory commissions.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission said it probably would support the change, but a Maryland Public Service Commission official said the measure could run into opposition in his state.

Currently, a daytime 10-minute phone call from a 378 exchange in Herndon to Silver Spring costs $2.59 plus tax. If the proposal is approved, a Herndon customer paying a flat rate for unlimited local call service would pay 50 cents extra a month regardless of how many calls are made to Silver Spring.

Herndon, Reston and other western Fairfax residents do not pay long-distance rates for calls to the District.

Mary Batcher, a Burke resident, said western Fairfax residents have been treated unfairly for years and now is the time to even things out. "I have a friend who lives two miles away who doesn't have to pay {toll} charges," Batcher said. "I sure don't think it's fair."

Blocher said she plans to lobby for the measure. "It would certainly help the individual as well as business," she said.

But Joseph Ismael, a communications engineer for Maryland Public Service Commission, said the regulatory agency may have trouble approving the measure because residents in Gaithersburg and other outlying Maryland areas who pay tolls for Northern Virginia calls -- and who also have lobbied for toll-free status -- may feel slighted.

Even if the Virginia residents responding to the ballots approve the measure, it would be months before the Maryland commission would receive the formal request.