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CONTACT: Patricia Van Gerpen, phone (605) 773-3201

FERC Chairman to keynote PUC's Energy Conference

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Pat Wood III will be the keynote speaker at the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission's "Crisis or Renaissance? A Conference on The State of America's Energy" event, April 18-20 at the Sheraton Convention Center, Sioux Falls.

"This is a significant accomplishment for South Dakota to have someone of Chairman Wood's stature agree to participate in South Dakota's premiere energy conference," said PUC Chairman Gary Hanson. "Other conference presentations will deal with energy's effect on climate and the environment as well as the latest energy opportunities that are being developed."

Wood was named as a FERC Commissioner in June 2001.   Prior to his appointment as Chairman of FERC, Wood served in a variety of positions including once serving as a legal counsel to a previous FERC Commissioner and as a Texas PUC Chairman.  FERC is the federal counterpart to the SD PUC.  It is an independent federal agency that is charged with regulating the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity in the economic and environmental interest of the American public.  FERC also regulates natural gas and hydropower projects.

 "We'll hear from national energy experts with specifics on energy sources, both renewable and traditional," said PUC Vice Chairman Bob Sahr. "Chairman Wood will lead us through the key issues FERC is dealing with on the national level and he'll help us assess how these issues are likely to impact our country and our region."

"We're interested in learning from a diverse panel of experts about how the various energy sources can benefit South Dakota, both economically and environmentally," PUC Commissioner Dusty Johnson said. "This conference will be an excellent opportunity for those in the energy industry and the general public to learn about where we are and what our energy future holds."

Details on the conference, including registration information, can be found on the PUC's Web site: For additional conference information, call the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission at 1 (800) 332-1782 or e-mail