North Dakota Public Service Commission
The qualified electors of the state at the times and places of choosing members of the legislative assembly shall choose a governor, lieutenant governor, agriculture commissioner, attorney general, auditor, insurance commissioner, three public service commissioners, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, tax commissioner, and treasurer. ...
Article V, Section 4 of the North Dakota Constitution establishes the qualifications to hold the office of public service commissioner:
|To be eligible to hold an elective office established by this article, a person must be a qualified elector of this state, must be at least twenty-five years of age on the day of the election, and must have been a resident of this state for the five years preceding election to office. To be eligible to hold the office of governor or lieutenant governor, a person must be at least thirty years old on the day of the election. The attorney general must be licensed to practice law in this state.|
- qualified North Dakota voter
- at least 25 years old
- a resident of North Dakota for at least the five preceding years
The commissioners are elected on a statewide basis to staggered six-year terms. Commissioner Fetch's term expires in 2012. She was appointed to replace Tony Clark, who resigned prior to the end of his term in June 2012. Commissioner Cramer's term expires in 2016, and Commissioner Kalk's term expires in 2014.
Article V, Section 8 addresses vacancies in state executive offices. In the event of a vacancy, the governor nominates a successor who must be confirmed by the state senate. Once confirmed, the individual serves the remainder of the unexpired term.
The commission is responsible for regulating public utilities. The board is granted jurisdiction over railroads, telecommunications companies, pipelines, electric, and heating companies; grain elevators and warehouses; weights and measures; public auctioneers and auction clerks; the siting of energy plants and transmission facilities; reclamation of mined lands; and all other public utilities working within the state. The specific duties of the commissioners are outlined in Chapter49-01 of the North Dakota Century Code:
The commission does NOT have jurisdiction over:
- rural electric cooperatives
- most small telephone companies
- cable television
The commission has seven divisions:
- The Abandoned Mine Lands Division manages a program to remove and dispose of hazards related to abandoned mines, investigates abandoned sites, designs reclamation projects, and manages construction projects.
- The Accounting Division manages the accounting and data processing for the other divisions.
- The Legal Division provides legal representation, advice and counsel to the commission.
- The Licensing Division administers the licensing programs for public grain warehouses, grain and hay buyers, and auctioneers and auction clerks.
- The Public Utility Division assists the commission with regulating electric and natural gas utilities and telecommunications companies. The division also addresses complaints, inquiries, and requests for information about public utilities.
- The Reclamation Division enforces surface coal mining and reclamation operations state laws.
- The Testing and Safety Division maintains standards for measuring weight, volume, and length, and also administers the gas pipeline safety programs.
Title 49 of the North Dakota Century Code sets the annual salary of the commissioners at $92,826 through June 30, 2012, and at $95,611 thereafter. In 2010, each of the North Dakota public service commissioners was paid an estimated $85,824 according to the Council of State Governments.
North Dakota Public Service Commission
600 East Boulevard, Dept. 408
Bismarck, ND 58505-0480
Toll free: 1-877--245-6685
- The Republic.com, "ND public service commissioner Tony Clark says he won't run for re-election in 2012," May 5, 2011
- North Dakota Legislation, "Article 69-01: General administration," Accessed July 13, 2011
- North Dakota Century Code, "Title 49: Public utilities," Accessed July 13, 2011
- The Council of State Governments,"The Book of States 2010 Table 4.11," retrieved April 23, 2011