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Fedorchak to oversee PSC’s consumer affairs portfolio

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Public Service Commission has placed its consumer affairs portfolio in the hands of a single commissioner in an effort to improve communication with the public.

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Commissioner Julie Fedorchak was assigned the portfolio Wednesday. Previously, all three commissioners shared the consumer affairs portfolio, which focuses on consumer issues and complaints and improving communication through traditional public information channels, public meetings and social media.

Fedorchak said the change wasn’t triggered by complaints.

“We just feel that having one person who’s paying really close attention to trends in terms of where customers are having issues … seemed like a smart way to proceed,” she said.

Fedorchak said she will work closely with the PSC’s new public outreach and consumer affairs specialist, Stacy Eberl, who was recently hired to fill the position vacated by Scott Sheldon in December. Eberl previously worked as a public information officer with the state Department of Health and as a television reporter and anchor for KXMB in Bismarck.

In other business Wednesday, the PSC approved a reduction in a cost recovery rider for Otter Tail Power Co. that will result in an average decrease of 78 cents in the monthly electric bill of the company’s residential customers starting April 1.

The renewable energy rider was approved in 2008 and applied in 2009 to help the company recover the cost of its Langdon, Ashtabula and Luverne wind farms.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.