By Tim Leeds
State Sen. Greg Jergeson, D-Chinook, has announced his intention to run for a seat on the Montana Public Service Commission in District One for a four-year term.
Jergeson has been in the Senate 22 years but cannot run for re-election because of term limits.
He said in a press release that he has tried to adhere to principles he learned from the 4-H pledge to his work in the Senate, including thinking clearly, being loyal to constituents, devoting energy to sorting through complex issues facing Montana, and exercising discipline to contribute to the economic health and well-being of Montana communities.
"That is the same commitment I would make as public service commissioner for PSC District 1," he said.
Jergeson said he already is familiar with some issues the PSC deals with. He voted against a bill deregulating energy in Montana in 1997.
"The current turmoil in electricity markets is a direct result of that misguided decision," he said.
Jergeson also opposed a bill passed in the last few days of the legislative session last year about energy pricing in Montana. He also supported efforts in 1999 and 2000 to reverse deregulation.
Jergeson and his wife, Barb, live in Chinook and have two daughters, one in high school and one attending the University of Montana in Missoula. He has farmed south of Chinook, and now works as grants director at Montana State University-Northern.
During his tenure in the Montana Senate, Jergeson was selected by his colleagues as majority leader in 1993 and was chairman of both the Legislative Audit and Legislative Finance committees. His standing committee assignments included the Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee for 10 sessions and the Finance Committee for eight sessions. He has served on several other committees and subcommittees.
The Public Service Commission is responsible for ensuring that public utilities provide adequate service at reasonable rates to Montana consumers. It is now considering the sale of Montana Power Co.'s power distribution system to NorthWestern Corp., a sale the PSC must approve before it can happen.
Some of the areas regulated by the PSC include natural gas, electricity, telephone, railroads and certain motor carriers hauling regulated commodities. The PSC also regulates natural gas transmission safety.