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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007            

CONTACT: Leah Mohr, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201

Public Utilities Commissioners urge fairgoers to be smart with energy

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioners Dusty Johnson, Gary Hanson and Steve Kolbeck are delivering a simple message of energy efficiency this summer: Use your wits. Save your watts. They will emphasize that theme at presentations during the Sioux Empire and Brown County fairs this month.

Sioux Empire fairgoers will hear energy efficiency tips from the PUC and MidAmerican Energy at 1 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 9 at the Front Porch Stage on the W.H. Lyons Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.

Attendees of the Brown County Fair will have the opportunity to meet the commissioners and representatives of NorthWestern Energy and Otter Tail Power Company during a presentation at 3 p.m., Friday, Aug. 17 at Ken's Family Tent on the fairgrounds in Aberdeen.

"I look forward to the summer fair season," commented PUC Chairman Johnson. "We held similar events last year and I was really impressed by the stories folks shared about what they have done to save energy. Since then, there's been more energy efficiency education conducted by the PUC and other groups so I expect to hear about more savings," he concluded.

"The advice we will offer at these presentations is appropriate for anyone, whether you live in a historic house, a newly-constructed one or are an apartment-dweller," suggested PUC Vice Chairman Hanson. "Our theme says it all – ‘Use you wits and save your watts.' A lot of energy-saving ideas boil down to just plain common sense," he advised.

"The concept of saving energy to save money is an easy one to understand," said PUC Commissioner Kolbeck. "I'm the father of four young children and they get it. Each one knows to turn off lights when they leave a room. They are constantly on the lookout everywhere for Energy Hogs – things that waste energy like an open window on a hot summer day when the air conditioner is running," he said. 

Those attending the presentations will have a chance to receive an energy-efficient prize donated by energy companies serving South Dakota, which will be randomly given away at the presentations.

PUC commissioners and staff will distribute information and answer questions at their booth in the Expo Building at Sioux Empire Fair, Aug. 7-12, and in the Holum Expo Building at the Brown County Fair, Aug. 13-19. Fairgoers can sign up for the Do Not Call Registry and make an energy-efficiency pledge to the Change-A-Light program at the PUC exhibit.