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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

Commissioner Steve Kolbeck chosen to lead PUC 

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota's public utilities commissioners elected Steve Kolbeck to serve as the commission's chairman for the next two years. Commissioner Gary Hanson was voted to be vice chairman. The election took place at the commission's regular meeting in Pierre on Nov. 23. 

Kolbeck, who has served as PUC vice chair since 2008, is beginning his fifth year on the commission. He is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, serving on the association's Committee on Telecommunications. He holds appointed positions through NARUC to the Federal Communications Commission's Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services Fund Advisory Council and the Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations where he is the state chairman. Kolbeck is also the president of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference and the Regional Oversight Committee.  

"I gratefully accept this position," Kolbeck said. "I have a great deal of pride in the accomplishments of this bi-partisan commission and know my colleagues join me with a willingness to have government succeed," he said. 

Hanson is in his second term as commissioner, having been elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008. He serves on the NARUC Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment and represents NARUC on the steering committee of the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative. He is a past treasurer of the Organization of MISO States. 

"I have great confidence in Steve Kolbeck. Steve is extremely knowledgeable and accomplished, and he is a nationally respected commissioner," Hanson said. "I am thoroughly looking forward to tackling the exciting and challenging utility issues alongside my fellow commissioners." 

Hanson nominated Kolbeck for the chairmanship. Commissioner Dusty Johnson, the former chairman, nominated Hanson. "This is a leadership team that works," noted Johnson. "Steve and Gary are truly committed to their roles and to serving South Dakotans." 

Visit the PUC's Web site at for more information about the agency and its commissioners.