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Civil Service Commissioner Sheri Haugen-Hoffart

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BISMARCK, ND (KXNETName) — The Public Service Commission (PSC) is a constitutional agency with varying degrees of regulatory and licensing authority over utility services such as electricity and natural gas rates, pipeline safety, and coal mine reclamation.

The agency serves the public by working with consumers to resolve disputes with utility companies and by monitoring the accuracy of all sales. Three commissioners are elected statewide to staggered six-year terms.

Sheri Haugen-Hoffart was named to the commission by Gov. Doug Burgum to replace Brian Kroshus, who stepped down after being named state tax commissioner in December 2021.

Josh Meny sat Haugen-Hoffart running in a special election to retain his role.

The following is a transcript of their conversation. Josh’s questions and statements are shown in italics.

What gives you the experience you need to continue your job here?

“Well, I had the good fortune of serving for nine years on the board of directors of the Capital Electric cooperative. And from there, my colleagues elected me to central power. Thus, for nine years, I learned generation, transmission, distribution among end users. Along with that, I took many courses in the electrical industry and learned everything from how energy or electricity is generated to the financial aspect of a cooperative,”

It’s impressive. What are some of the biggest challenges you (PSC) are facing right now?

“For some time, it’s been the power grid: affordability and reliability. I am fortunate to work with two Commissioners who have this job within Regional Transport Organizations (RTOs). So North Dakota’s voice is being heard on this. And, another thing we are dealing with is pipeline security. It’s in my wallet. So it’s something very important to me. And another platform for me regarding accountability, affordability, and pipeline safety is cybersecurity. »

How is the Civil Service Commission responding to this ongoing (energy) crisis?

“Well, double. I think the way we react is the first, as stated from an education point of view. The three of us, Commissioner Fedorchik, Mr. Christmann and myself, made sure that the voice of North Dakota was heard. So how we do that is we actively participate in regional and national conferences and committees. Commissioner Christmann participates in (Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Julie (Fedorchak) participates in MISO MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator). I sit on the board of MARK. And what we want to do is be there North Dakota is doing a lot of things very well, and we want to get that message out regionally and nationally. The other way to do this is through candidate rates. Nominations, when we we get a rate increase, it’s a balancing act between what the company has to do, providing reliable and affordable services, but also what the consumer can afford, so it’s that balancing act that we do,” Haugen-Hoffart explained.

Winter is really near. This must be a challenge you are heading into right now.

“It’s a challenge for everyone. This inflation affects us all on a daily basis, whether at the gas pump, at the grocery store or at electricity rates. Yes, it’s a big impact. And we’ll see what the midterm reviews bring,” Haugen-Hoffart said.

(Regarding national politics) “We really need to get back to basics and really get this inflation under control to help ordinary people on what they pay at the pump at the grocery store. We have to help everyone,” Haugen-Hoffart said.

Is there anything else I’m missing, Sherri?

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the citizens of North Dakota. I appreciate. I look forward to coming to work every day. And the industry has been very wonderful to me and accessible. I work with a great team. I cannot thank Commissioner Fedorchak and Commissioner Christmann enough for their knowledge and for being great mentors to me.

Lots of challenges! Sheri Haugen-Hoffert Civil Service Commissioner, thank you very much for your time.

“Thanks.”