Flathead Valley Republican Derek Skees has announced his candidacy for the Montana Public Service Commission district stretching from Helena to Kalispell.
Skees is a two-term state representative and the chairman of the House Energy Committee. He was also a member of the Legislature’s Energy and Telecommunication Interim Committee.
A construction consultant, Skees previously ran for PSC District 5 in 2014. Current Commissioner Brad Johnson was elected that year. Johnson is termed out at the end of 2022.
In a Facebook post announcing his candidacy, Skees touted his legislative experiences concerning energy issues and said his past oversight of the Public Service Commission had prepared him for the steep learning curve that challenges new commissioners.
By law the Public Service Commission’s sole purpose is to balance customers' right to a fair price with a monopoly utility’s opportunity to earn an authorized cost of capital set by the PSC. Its low-profile elections are short on funds and media coverage, but big on consequence for anyone not receiving electricity from a cooperative. Other public services like gas and private water service, garbage and taxis are also affected.