Utility hires former regulator

The former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission is going to work for Southwest Gas Corp. as vice president, starting Nov. 3.

Don Soderberg, 49, will be vice president of external affairs, the Las Vegas-based natural gas company confirmed Wednesday. He will be the key liaison officer for several departments in working with regulators, legislators and other government officials. Soderberg also will be responsible for coordinating strategies that support Southwest Gas business goals.

Soderberg worked as regulatory affairs director at R&R Partners, an advertising, public relations and government affairs firm, since stepping down as commission chairman in July 2007.

Under state law, commission members are barred from working for utilities that the commission regulates for one year. That "cooling-off" period ended in July.

At R&R, Soderberg represented energy companies and others. After the cooling-off period ended, he also provided consulting services to utilities.

Soderberg served on the Public Service Commission, a predecessor agency of the utilities commission, from 1995 to 1997. He served from 1997 to 1998 on the Nevada Transportation Authority and joined the utilities commission in December 1998. He was appointed utilities commission chairman in 1999.

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