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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008
CONTACT:  Leah Mohr, Communications Manager, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201

Commissioner Dusty Johnson elected to lead PUC

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota's public utilities commissioners elected Dusty Johnson to be their chairman for the coming year. Commissioner Steve Kolbeck was voted to continue as vice chairman. The election took place at the commission's regular meeting on Dec. 9.

Johnson is familiar with the chairman's role having served as such in 2007. He became the youngest utilities commissioner in the nation when South Dakotans elected him to the PUC in 2004. Johnson currently serves on the board of directors and the electricity committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He is also on the Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Board.

"I'm pleased to accept this position, as well as humbled knowing the confidence my fellow commissioners have placed in me," Johnson said. "There are some great things happening in our state in the areas of energy and telecommunications, and we're seeing a great deal of investment and innovation. I'm looking forward to continuing the PUC's involvement with those successes," he concluded.

Kolbeck is beginning his second year as vice chairman and his third year on the commission. He holds various leadership positions on regional and national industry and regulatory boards. "I'm proud of the accomplishments of the PUC," he said. "I expect the next year to be filled with learning opportunities and exciting challenges."

Johnson and Kolbeck were both nominated for their leadership roles by Commissioner Gary Hanson. Hanson, who was elected to his second term on the commission in November, was the commission's chairman in 2008 and 2005.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chairman," Hanson commented. "We commissioners have a respectful relationship with one another and the PUC has a tremendous staff that capably assists us as we consider very important and sometimes complex issues," he said.

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