SD GOP Facebook

Public Utilities Commissioner Gary Hanson delivered a surprisingly fiery speech during an Election Night watch party on the Facebook page of the South Dakota Republicans.

But the speech was not about Hanson's re-election to a fourth term on the state commission.

“This is not going to be a typical election speech,” Hanson said, “because I’m amazed at the sometime insane positions that socialists have taken. I don’t want to throw a lot of bricks or rocks or anything, but I am going to be provocative.”


SDPB's Stephanie Rissler hosts a live discussion with candidates for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.

Joining us:

Remi Bald Eagle (Democratic candidate) 
Gary Hanson (Republican incumbent)
Devin Saxon (Libertarian candidate)


Gary Hanson for PUC

In The Moment … October 1, 2020 Show 914 Hour 2

Gary Hanson was first elected to South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission in 2002. He has served three six-year terms and he's running for re-election. Hanson was Sioux Falls' utilities commissioner for six years prior to serving as the city's mayor. Hanson is co-founder and past president of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System and has served on many boards of directors both in and outside of the utility industry. What are his goals for another six years on the Public Utilities Commission should voters reelect him?  

Melissa Hamersma

SDPB political reporter Lee Strubinger spent Tuesday night at South Dakota Republican Party headquarters in Sioux Falls. He shares comments from U.S. Senator John Thune and U.S. Representative Kristi Noem as he discusses his night covering the GOP.

Nelson Keeps PUC Seat

Nov 9, 2016
Melissa Hamersma / SDPB

Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson keeps his seat in office following the election.
Nelson beat Oglala Lakota entrepreneur Henry Red Cloud who campaigned on an expansion of alternative energy including more wind and solar in South Dakota.  
Nelson says he is humbled and honored to spend another term on the PUC.

Black Hills Corporation is an energy company based in Rapid City. In February, Black Hills Corp acquired Source Gas in a 1.9 billion dollar deal. The company now serves 1.2 million natural gas and electric utility customers in eight states, including South Dakota.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray sat down with Chairman and CEO David Emery to talk about consolidation in the energy industry and the responsibility and challenges for companies like Black Hills Corp regarding renewable sources of energy for customers … and for the climate.

The Canadian company that seeks to build the Keystone XL pipeline asked the State Department to suspend its review of the project.  The request comes amid growing speculation that President Obama would reject the application before leaving office.  TransCanada Corporation asked for a pause in the review process while the Nebraska Public Service Commission approves the pipeline route through that state, something the company resisted in the past.

There are several sides to the issue. 

PUC Approves Half Of BHP Rate Increase Request

Mar 3, 2015

Residents in Rapid City and the surrounding area are about to see their electric bills go up.

But the rate increase may not be as high as the power company would like. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission approved half of the 9.27 percent  increase Black Hills Power requested.

P.U.C. Commissioner Chris Nelson says rate increases are never easy.   Nelson says the factors the PUC can consider when company requests a rate increase are set by state law.  

Lawmakers Consider Wind Farm Tax Incentives

Feb 24, 2015

A bill before state lawmakers intends to increase the development of wind energy in South Dakota with tax breaks for large scale wind farms.

Those backing changes to the law argue that the tax system set up in 2008 for wind farms is limiting development in South Dakota—and surrounding states are more competitive in the wind energy sector.   

But opponents counter the proposed bill goes too far and hurts taxpayers.

You can hear more by clicking play below.

December first was the deadline for comments on a new Environmental Protection Agency rule designed to cut national carbon dioxide emissions. On that same day, the state Public Utilities Commission met with representatives of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, which delivers electrical power to the country’s midsection, from Montana to Indiana and Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The very eastern edge of South Dakota is included in that service area.

State Of Our Utilities/Infrastructure

Oct 31, 2013

As part of South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s series exploring the state of South Dakota’s infrastructure, Gary Hanson discusses the state of the areas falling under the purview of the PUC, including electricity, natural gas and telecommunications.  Hanson was elected to the commission in 2003 and re-elected in November 2008. He served as the commission's chairman in 2005, 2008 and 2011.  He represents South Dakota on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Electricity.