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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 28, 2011
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327 

South Dakota PUC elects new leadership

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has a new chairman. Commissioner Gary Hanson was elected to the agency's top spot this week. Commissioner Chris Nelson will serve as vice chairman.  

Hanson is familiar with the chairmanship of the three-member panel charged with utility oversight in the state. He served in that post in 2005 and 2008. He was first elected to the commission in 2003 and re-elected to another six-year term in 2008. He was nominated for the chair's position by fellow commissioner Chris Nelson.  

"The PUC and the people of South Dakota will be well-served by the great experience and excellent leadership ability of Commissioner Hanson," Nelson said. 

Hanson fills the leadership role most recently held by Steve Kolbeck, who departed the commission earlier this month for a position in the private sector. Hanson had been serving as the PUC's vice chairman. 

Hanson nominated Nelson to step into the vice chairman's position. "Commissioner Nelson is distinguishing himself as an academic on the commission," Hanson stated. Nelson was appointed to the commission in January 2011. 

The third seat on the commission will be filled by Kristie Fiegen of Sioux Falls, who was recently appointed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Fiegen is expected to join the PUC in August. 

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

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Contact the PUC at to request a high-resolution photograph of Chairman Hanson or Vice Chairman Nelson.