Democratic PSC Candidates say current commissioners neglect reliability issues
North Dakota's Public Service Commission is holding its Reliability Conference in Fargo.
Democratic candidates for PSC Tyler Axness and Todd Reisenauer say it is "ironic" that the PSC would hold the conference in Fargo, where several power outages have occurred as recently as this summer. Reisenauer says the meeting looks more like a "campaign event" and that electric reliability issues for Fargo residents need to be taken more seriously.
"I got several friends, business partners who've had power outages, and from what they're telling me and from what I understand, a lot of it is just outdated infrastructure causing some of those outages. And here we are, with our abundant resources in our state, and the heart of our largest city is having challenges with outages. It's just really, really hard to understand and comprehend how that could be."
Axness says it is unfair for the current commissioners to continue to pass rate increases for electric companies without requiring the companies to have accountability for their service.
"These commissioners have basically asked the rate payers in North Dakota to put out more of their money into paying for electricity that is no more reliable than it was before the rate increase. I believe that the basic duty of the PSC is to make sure that these electric companies are utilizing the rate payers' money to the best of their ability and upgrading infrastructure so that their energy IS reliable, and so that we don't have to hold a conference just ahead of an election to talk about it."
Reisenauer is seeking election to the seat on the PSC currently held by commission chairman Brian Kalk. Axness is a current state senator running for the seat held by Julie Fedorchak.