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DATE: April 23, 2004

Contact Person: Sue Schaefer, Information Officer

Contact Phone: 605-773-3201

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to host Energy & Telecommunications Forum

Public Utilities Commission Chairman Bob Sahr, Vice Chairman Gary Hanson, Commissioner Jim Burg and staff will be hosting an "Energy and Telecommunications Forum" in Selby at the Berens Hotel & Café, 3422 Main Street, on April 30, 2004 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

According to Chairman Bob Sahr, the forum will feature individual presentations and planning sessions on cell phone service, wind energy, and power plant development.

"The PUC values the input of our local civic leaders and citizenry, and we want the program to be as interactive as possible," said Sahr. "Many people are curious about wind development, and the proposed Basin power plant project is something we'd all like to learn a little bit more about."

"Cell phone service has long been an issue in this region of South Dakota," said SDPUC Vice Chairman Gary Hanson. "That is why we've added it to our forum program. It will give the Commission an opportunity to listen to people's concerns, understand the problems, and hopefully come up with some solutions."

According to Commissioner Jim Burg, in addition to the wind discussion to be held at the forum, the PUC will also be hosting wind informational meetings in Bowdle on April 30, 2004 at 1:00 p.m. at the Bowdle High School, 3083 2nd Avenue, in Gettysburg at the Senior Citizen Center, 701 West Logan, May 4, 2004 beginning at 7:00 p.m., and a final meeting in Buffalo on May 25th beginning at 8:00 p.m. MDT at the Buffalo Community Center, 204 Hodge Street in Buffalo.

Telecommunications and energy issues are of vital importance to our state's future. The public is encouraged to attend and interact in any or all of these meetings. For more information on any of the upcoming meetings, you are encouraged to call the PUC at 1-800-332-1782, or check their Web site at