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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 27, 2005
CONTACT: Patricia Van Gerpen, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, telephone (605) 773-3201

 Sahr elected PUC Chairman

South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Bob Sahr was unanimously elected chairman of the commission for the upcoming year.

"Protecting consumers and ratepayers is job #1 at the PUC," said incoming Chairman Bob Sahr.  "I thank my fellow commissioners for their support and know we all share a passion for serving consumers, working to build our state's infrastructure and making South Dakota an even better place to live and work."

"Bob will do a great job of leading the commission in the year ahead," said new PUC Vice Chairman Dustin Johnson. "We have many key issues and decisions to deal with and Bob will be a solid leader in guiding us through these." Johnson is entering his second year as PUC Commissioner and his first year in the Vice Chair post.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my year as Chair of the commission," said current PUC Chairman Gary Hanson. "I look forward to continuing to work with Commissioners Sahr and Johnson in their new posts. I feel fortunate to work alongside two such dedicated and talented individuals."

Sahr thanked outgoing Chairman Hanson for his leadership and pointed to the three commissioners' joint work on the South Dakota Do-Not-Call List, improved cell phone service and wind energy as major PUC accomplishments.

PUC commissioners elect a chairperson and vice chair annually.

Earlier this year, Commissioner Sahr was named chairman of Qwest's Regional Oversight Committee, comprised of regulators in 14 states where Qwest is the dominant local telephone carrier. Commissioner Sahr was also elected to the leadership of the Mid-American Regulatory Conference, a 15-state association of public utilities commissioners this year. He serves as secretary of the organization through 2006, and will become president of the group in 2008.

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