Consumer Assistance | Energy | Telecom | Warehouse | Commission Actions | Miscellaneous

arrow PUC Press Releases | previous page

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007                                
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, communications manager, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201, (605) 280-4327 or

PUC and energy providers launch South Dakota Energy Smart

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and the state's energy providers today pledged their partnership in South Dakota Energy Smart, a statewide initiative that recognizes and promotes energy efficiency.

"South Dakota Energy Smart goes beyond simply offering sage energy conservation advice like ‘turn down the heat' and ‘turn off extra lights,'" said PUC Chairman Dusty Johnson. "While those are easy and important ways to reduce energy bills, South Dakota Energy Smart is a comprehensive approach to energy efficiency. Consumers, energy providers and regulators all have a responsibility to be reactive and proactive to rising energy costs, take steps toward energy security and independence, and be stewards of the land. This initiative addresses all those things," he said.

South Dakota Energy Smart partners include the PUC, Black Hills Power, MidAmerican Energy Company, Montana-Dakota Utilities, NorthWestern Energy, Otter Tail Power Company, Xcel Energy, Heartland Consumers Power District, Missouri River Energy Services, the South Dakota Municipal Electric Association, and the South Dakota Rural Electric Association. Representatives of each entity signed a formal South Dakota Energy Smart pledge during an announcement event held Nov. 27 in Sioux Falls.

PUC Vice Chairman Gary Hanson said: "The South Dakota Energy Smart is a resource to help consumers make wise energy choices. Energy efficiency must be part of any discussion about the future; our Earth's fossil fuels are not infinite, once they are depleted they will be gone forever. Wise energy use helps extend our resources and helps reduce everyone's utility bills."

"I commend the leadership of each partnering utility and association in coming together to support the South Dakota Energy Smart initiative," said PUC Commissioner Steve Kolbeck. "The initiative is a sensible collaboration among partners who have a common interest in advocating energy efficiency. Each of the energy provider partners offers energy efficiency programs or is in the process of developing programs for their South Dakota customers. That shows their true commitment to helping South Dakotans be more efficient users of energy," he concluded.

South Dakota Energy Smart includes a new Web site, and a statewide television campaign urging homeowners to prepare their homes for winter.

More than 25 South Dakota organizations and agencies have signed on as South Dakota Energy Smart supporters. These groups represent the housing sector, service agencies, and government offices. For a complete list of supporters, go to


See the South Dakota Energy Smart Pledge

The following quotes have been provided so you may incorporate comments from your local energy provider/South Dakota Energy Smart partner in your story. Call the number listed with the quote if you have specific questions or would like to interview a company representative.

Black Hills Power
"Black Hills Power is thrilled to be partnering with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on the Energy Smart program so together we can continue to educate our customers and the people of South Dakota about the benefits of energy efficiency." – Mutch Usera, Director of Marketing, Black Hills Power. Contact: (605) 484-1476

NorthWestern Energy
NorthWestern Energy Media Contact: Thomas Glanzer, 1-877-410-0154.

Otter Tail Power Company
Otter Tail Power Company vice president Mark Helland says that energy conservation and demand-side management are part of Otter Tail's balanced energy plan. "Our South Dakota customers have participated in our DSM programs for decades," he said. "Now that partnership, with approval from the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, can be expanded to include energy efficiency programs."

Otter Tail Power Company Media Contact: Cris Kling, Director, Public Relations, Phone: (218) 739-8297

MidAmerican Energy Company
"Taking action to use energy as wisely as possible always is the right thing to do, and it helps customers manage their energy costs," said Rick Leuthauser, manager of energy efficiency for MidAmerican Energy Company.

Contact Mr. Leuthauser, phone: (563) 333-8846.

Missouri River Energy Services
"Missouri River Energy Services supports the state initiative and is implementing the second phase of our demand-side management program. This will reduce our need for new generation, help the customers in our member communities save energy and money, and help all of us be better environmental stewards." - Deb Birgen, Manager of State Legislative Relations, Missouri River Energy Services

Missouri River Energy Services Media Contact: Bill Radio, Director of Member and Public Relations, (605) 338-4042 or (800) 678-4042

Montana-Dakota Utilities
"Montana-Dakota has always been committed to promoting and educating consumers on energy conservation," said Bruce Imsdahl, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. "We've been a leader in conservation efforts in South Dakota with conservation programs that benefit our 51,000 natural gas and 8,700 electric customers. We also partner with local builders, architects and equipment dealers to promote energy efficiency."

Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Media Contact: Mark Hanson, 701-530-1093,

Xcel Energy
"Xcel Energy is pleased to be a part of South Dakota Energy Smart," said Jim Wilcox, government and regulatory affairs manager for Xcel Energy. "Our company has been committed to demand-side management for over 25 years and we are looking forward to the continued development and progression of that effort through this energy efficiency initiative. It will have a positive impact on South Dakota."

Contact Mr. Wilcox, phone: (605) 339-8200.

Heartland Consumers Power District
"Energy efficiency is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest means of getting the most out of our existing facilities, delaying the need for new construction, holding down costs for consumers, and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. Heartland is excited to be a partner in this important energy initiative. Our children and grandchildren may look back on this initiative and say that we got it right for South Dakota." – Mike McDowell, General Manager/CEO,
Heartland Consumers Power District. Phone: (605) 256-6536

South Dakota Municipal Electric Association
Bill Lewellen, Board President of the South Dakota Municipal Electric Association, noted:
"Promoting the highest efficiency of municipal operations has been a goal of municipal electric utilities for more than 50 years." 

Lewellen emphasized that the South Dakota Municipal Electric Association "Looks forward to working with the Public Utilities Commission in its stewardship for further advancement of energy efficiency in the electric utility industry."   

South Dakota Municipal Electric Association Media Contact: Tom Marvin, (605) 224-8654.

South Dakota Rural Electric Association
"Electric cooperatives are devoted to their focus on innovation and new technology. Co-ops have always promoted energy efficiency, encouraged conservation and have been committed to providing safe and reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost. Electric cooperatives continue to use integrity, accountability, innovation, and commitment to community as a foundation for doing the right thing now and in serving future generations of co-op members." – Audry Ricketts, executive manager, South Dakota Rural Electric Association. Contact: (605) 224-8823