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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

Gary Hanson is new PUC chairman

PIERRE, S.D. – Commissioner Gary Hanson has once again been elected as the chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. This is Hanson's fourth time in the chair's seat, having previously served in the post in 2011, 2008 and 2005. Commissioner Chris Nelson was elected as vice chairman.

The vote was held among the panel's three commissioners – Hanson, Nelson and Commissioner Kristie Fiegen – at a regular meeting of the commission on Jan. 15, 2013, in Pierre, S.D.

Hanson is serving his second six-year term on the commission. He was first elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008. Hanson is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Electricity and the Advisory Council for New Mexico State University's Center for Public Utilities and has held various leadership positions with other utility organizations during his tenure. Prior to joining the commission he was the mayor of Sioux Falls from 1994 to 2002 and a South Dakota state senator for three terms.

"I genuinely appreciate the confidence Commissioners Nelson and Fiegen have in me," Hanson said. "The dynamics of our personal relationships has promoted healthy give and take among the three of us that has led to a process of solid decision making. Our commission's goal is to assure South Dakotans have safe, dependable and affordable utilities," he concluded.

Nelson was elected to the commission in November 2012, after serving nearly two years of an appointment to fill a vacancy on the PUC. He was the commission's chairman in 2012. Nelson is a member of NARUC's Committee on Telecommunications and Task Force on Federalism and Telecommunications. He was the South Dakota Secretary of State from 2003 to 2011.

"I've greatly appreciated the opportunities I've experienced during the last year," Nelson said. "I'm looking forward to continuing to serve with Commissioners Hanson and Fiegen and doing good work for the state of South Dakota."

Fiegen was elected in November 2012 to a six-year term on the commission. She was appointed to the commission by Gov. Dennis Daugaard in August 2011 to fill a vacancy. She was the PUC's vice chairman in 2012.

"The PUC is in good hands with Commissioners Hanson and Nelson at the leadership helm," Fiegen stated.


Note for editors:
Contact the PUC at or by calling 605-773-3201 to request a high-resolution photo of Commissioners Hanson, Nelson or Fiegen.