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PSC Candidate Randy Pinocci Visits Sidney


October 17, 2018 | View PDF

Randy Pinnoci, Republican candidate for Public Service Commission District One (left), meets with Richland County Commissioner, Duane Mitchell (right). (Photo by Jordan Hall)

Public Service Commission candidate, Randy Pinocci, recently visited Sidney in a campaign stop, soliciting votes and spreading his message of common sense regulation. Pinnoci, who has previously served as a representative to the state legislature for House District 19, is a Sun River native and winner of the 2018 Republican primary for PSC District One. He is challenging Democrat Doug Kaecher on the November 6 ballot.

The Public Service Commission is a five-member board that is responsible for the regulation of energy, telecommunications, water and sewer, transportation (to include taxi service), and pipeline utilities. Pinocci spoke with The Roundup while he was in Sidney about his aspirations and goals for the Public Service Commission.

Regarding his trip to Sidney, which concluded a tour through the Highline that included Ft. Benton, Chinook, and Malta, Pinocci said, "I've come to encourage the team leaders in the area. The area of District One is bigger than some states. To manage a campaign in an area of 19 counties is overwhelming. You have to have a team leader to check into these things. Let's encourage people to talk about what's relevant in the race, to talk about what people are passionate about."

Nemont, a communications service provider in Northeast Montana, was meeting in Scobey and Pinocci felt it important to attend the meeting to discover the issues that people are talking about and for which they have concerns.

"I wanted to discuss the issues of the Public Service Commission regarding how we place our responsibilities over telecommunications with Nemont. That went very well, but then I wanted to come over to Sidney because of the invitation of Scott Staffanson, our team leader here."

Pinocci explained that a lot of people aren't aware of what the PSC does, even though they've seen his campaign signs.

Pinocci explained, "I would bet 99 percent of people don't know what the PSC does. People have seen our signs, but typically haven't seen the signs of my competitor unless they live in his hometown of Havre."

"When we talk about the Public Service Commission," Pinocci said, "people are amazed to find out we deal with railroad safety. One of the issues we're dealing with are people walking on the tracks with headphones and a train runs them over. We try to encourage safety and warn the public to stay off the tracks and help public awareness."

Pinocci continued, "The PSC also polices taxi cab services. When I was in the legislature, I helped with legislation to allow Uber to conduct business in Montana. Prior to this, Uber was illegal in Montana. The taxicab companies were furious with me because this would give them competition, but our job is to look and see how we can benefit Montana. Only one percent of Montana has taxi service, and if somebody can turn their car into a taxi and do it properly, we would have more service for a tremendous amount of Montana. Since Uber has become approved, there's been all kinds of stories about how it's made a difference, from people having heart attacks who've been able to make it to the hospital to those who were snowed in but were able to get out and get groceries."

"Our main job," Pinocci said, "is to make sure our utility companies don't just double the rates. They have a monopoly. Very rarely in Montana do you have two choices. So the Public Service Commission has to approve any rate increase to make sure companies don't take advantage of the people. We don't regulate cooperatives, which are managed by the federal government, but private utility companies."

When asked why he believed Eastern Montana voters should cast their ballot for him, Pinocci responded, "The Democrat Party's energy platform calls for every single coal-fired facility to be closed. If we did that, your rates would probably triple. I don't mind wind and solar, but I do mind people not being told the costs."

Pinocci continued, "I'm running against a Democrat and he's not going to say that he's for a less-dependable, more expensive energy infrastructure, but that's the truth."


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