Consumer Assistance | Energy | Telecom | Warehouse | Commission Actions | Miscellaneous
arrow News | previous page

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Jan. 10, 2011
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

Chris Nelson appointed to South Dakota Public Utilities Commission

PIERRE, S.D. – Chris Nelson was sworn in as South Dakota's newest public utilities commissioner on Jan. 8, 2011, during a formal inauguration ceremony at the State Capitol in Pierre. Nelson was appointed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to fill a vacancy on the commission. His appointment extends through 2012.

The vacancy on the commission filled by Nelson was created when Commissioner Dusty Johnson accepted a position as Gov. Daugaard's chief of staff and chose not to serve a second term on the commission.

Nelson previously served two terms as the Secretary of State, having first been elected in 2002. Prior to becoming Secretary of State, he was state election supervisor in the Secretary of State's office for 13 years and was uniform commercial code supervisor in the same office for two years.

"This is an exciting time to be a public utilities commissioner," Nelson commented. "I believe I am well-prepared to become immersed in the intricacies of the utility industry, to make thoughtful, fair decisions for the good of South Dakota and to affect solid public policy," he said.

Nelson joins PUC Chairman Steve Kolbeck and Vice Chairman Gary Hanson in rounding out the three-member panel that is charged with utility regulation in the state.

"I know Chris is ready to roll up his sleeves and get to the business of carrying out the duties of the PUC," said Kolbeck. "I welcome him to the commission and look forward to serving with him."

"Chris has an extraordinary grasp on what it means to be an effective public servant," said Hanson. "The experience he gained in his eight years as Secretary of State will serve him, and South Dakota, very well in the realm of utility regulation."

A native of White Lake, S.D., Nelson earned a bachelor's degree in animal science, with highest honors, from South Dakota State University in 1987. Nelson, his wife Penny and daughter Rebekah reside in Pierre.

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


Contact the PUC at to request a high-resolution photograph of Commissioner Nelson.