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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

Nelson and Fiegen sworn in as Public Utilities Commissioners

PIERRE, S.D. – Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen took the oath of office today to officially begin their terms as newly-elected South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioners. The commissioners were sworn in at a noon ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol in Pierre. South Dakota Supreme Court Justice Steven Zinter administered the oath. Lt. Gov. Matt Michels presided over the event.

Nelson and Fiegen were each elected to their current offices in the statewide general election in November 2012. Nelson was elected to complete the term to which he had been appointed in January 2011 by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Fiegen was elected to a full term after being appointed by Daugaard in August 2011. The appointments in 2011 were made by the governor to fill vacancies on the commission. Nelson's term expires in 2017; Fiegen's expires in 2019.

Nelson currently serves as the commission's chairman. He is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners and is on the group's Committee on Telecommunications. He also holds an appointed position on NARUC's Task Force on Federalism and Telecommunications.

Prior to joining the commission, Nelson served two terms as South Dakota's Secretary of State. His longtime experience with the Secretary of State's office also includes 13 years as the state election supervisor and two years as the uniform commercial code supervisor.

"I am excited to continue my service to the citizens of South Dakota," Nelson said. "The public utilities arena is lively with challenges and opportunities in every sector including energy, telecommunications, natural gas, pipeline safety and grain warehousing. During the last two years, I have become immersed in these issues and will continue to engage in the development of policies and decisions that make the most sense for South Dakota and our residents," he continued.

Commissioner Nelson's wife, Penny, and daughter, Rebekah, accompanied him at the oath ceremony.

Fiegen is the PUC's vice chairman. She is a member of NARUC's Committee on Gas. Fiegen previously served as the president of Junior Achievement of South Dakota for 17 years and the South Dakota area manager for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for nine years. Her public service career includes four terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives.

"South Dakota is my passion," said Fiegen. "I grew up in this state and am raising my family in this state. That's why protecting South Dakota consumers is so important to me. I look forward to the next six years and diving deep into all issues that impact South Dakota utility consumers," she said.

Commissioner Fiegen's father, Harlan Olson of Chancellor, assisted his daughter in the oath ceremony. He held the Bible that belonged to the commissioner's mother, Evelyn Olson, who died in 1984. 

Find more information about the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, Commissioner Nelson and Commissioner Fiegen at


MEDIA NOTE: Download photos of Commissioner Nelson, Commissioner Fiegen and their oath ceremony at