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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008
CONTACT:  Leah Mohr, Communications Manager, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201

PUC's Kolbeck to help develop national wireless consumer standards

PIERRE, S.D. – Steve Kolbeck, vice chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, has been appointed to a new committee that will propose to Congress an initial set of national consumer protection standards for wireless phone service.

Kolbeck is one of 16 members of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners to serve on the association's Ad Hoc Committee on National Wireless Consumer Protection Standards. He was appointed by NARUC President Marsha Smith. Earlier this year, Kolbeck helped draft a resolution NARUC endorsed at its summer meeting that recommends Congress create a state-federal task force to develop national wireless consumer standards. The formation of the ad hoc committee is NARUC's next step in reaching that goal.

"The responsibility of the ad hoc committee is to begin drafting potential standards and an initial proposal to Congress," Kolbeck said. "Ultimately, we expect our efforts to culminate in the formation of a state-federal task force that will include five state regulators among its members," he said. The proposed task force will also include three members of the Federal Communications Commission, a representative of the state attorneys general, a consumer advocate and an industry official.  

"There has been a lot of discussion at both the state and federal levels about the need for a cooperative national framework – one that incorporates more state enforcement and oversight – to guide wireless carriers in their relationships with their customers," Kolbeck explained. "The ad hoc committee will work to ensure that states have necessary and valuable input on proposed national rules that affect the wireless industry and the consumers we protect," he said.

Kolbeck was elected to the PUC in November 2006 and is serving a six-year term. He is involved in several industry organizations including the Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations and NARUC's Committee on Telecommunications. Kolbeck currently serves as vice chairman of the 14-state Regional Oversight Committee and treasurer of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference.