Commission Agendas | previous page
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
Tuesday, January 20, 1998; 10:00 A.M.
State Capitol Building, Room 430
Pierre, South Dakota
NOTE: If you wish to join this meeting by conference call, please contact the Commission at 605-773-3201 by 5:00 p.m. on FRIDAY, January 16, 1998.
NOTE: Notice is further given to persons with disabilities that this Commission meeting is being held in a physically accessible place. If you have special needs, please notify the Commission and we will make all necessary arrangements.
1. Approval Of The Minutes Of The Commission Meetings Held On January 8 and 12, 1998. (Staff: Shirleen Fugitt.)Consumer Affairs
1. Status Report On Consumer Utility Inquiries And Complaints Recently Received By The Commission. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy.)
The Commission has received 54 consumer contacts during 1998.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: 50 contacts concerning telecommunications issues have been received so far this year. 19 contacts involved the unauthorized switching of long distance service; 6 contacts involved the unauthorized assessment for services; 3 contacts involved billing issues; 3 contacts did not receive service when promised; 3 contacts related poor service; 3 contacts involved billing for unauthorized directory ads; 4 contacts involved repair; 2 contacts concerned wrong rates; the remaining contacts involved 900 number calls, failure of battery backup, disconnection, high bill, lifeline program, telemarketing, and won't release from service.
ELECTRICITY: 1 disconnection contact was received.
GAS: 3 contacts involving natural gas were reported relating to disconnection, high bill, and indebted household.
A total of 12 complaints have been resolved informally during 1998.Gas/Electric
On December 8, 1997, MidAmerican Energy Company filed proposed tariffs to offer an Excess Facilities Rider to both electric and natural gas customers. The electric tariff will be applicable to all electric customers. The gas tariff will be applicable to gas sales and transportation service customers. MidAmerican is requesting the approval be effective January 1, 1998. MidAmerican has received requests from gas customers for this service in order to combine distribution facilities and eliminate the need for more than one gas meter. The cost of the excess facilities would be directly charged to the customer requesting this service.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the tariff changes?Electricity
1. EL97-022 IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF NORTHERN STATES POWER COMPANY FOR A STATEMENT TO THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION REGARDING INVESTMENT IN FOREIGN UTILITIES. (Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On November 18, 1997, the Commission received a petition from Northern States Power for a statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding investment in foreign utilities. NSP is requesting the Commission to certify to the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Section 33 of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 that the Commission "has the authority and resources to protect ratepayers subject to its jurisdiction and that it intends to exercise its authority" as it relates to investments in foreign utility companies made by NSP or its current or future affiliates, including NRG Energy, Inc.
TODAY, shall the Commission issue a certification letter?Telecommunications
On June 24, 1996, U S WEST Communications, Inc. (U S WEST) filed for approval by the Public Utilities Commission (Commission) its 1995 switched access cost study. According to the application, the study develops an overall average calculated rate of $0.066 per minute required to recover the costs of providing switched access. The following companies were granted intervention on July 30, 1996: Sprint Communications Company L.P. (Sprint); MCI Telecommunications Corporation (MCI); Express Communications, Inc. (Express); AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc. (AT&T); Telecommunications Action Group (TAG); and Dakota Cooperative Telecommunications, Inc. (DCT).
The Commission also found that pursuant to SDCL 49-31-12.4, the rate increase should be suspended for 120 days. A hearing was held on October 9 and 10, 1996, before the Commission. At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission on December 9, 1996, Commissioner Schoenfelder moved to reopen the record for the taking of more evidence. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Burg with Chairman Stofferahn dissenting. A continuation of the hearing is scheduled for March 19 through 21, 1997.
On January 15, 1997, AT&T moved the Commission to (1) disapprove the application of U S WEST for an increase in switched access rates and (2) to close this docket. A hearing on this motion was held before the Commission on January 23, 1997. Commissioner Nelson did not participate in these proceedings. At an ad hoc meeting on January 27, 1997, the Commission granted the motion of AT&T.
The matter was appealed to the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court for the State of South Dakota which remanded the matter to the Commission by Order dated May 29, 1997. The Commission received the Order on June 9, 1997. It directed that the remand be consistent with the Court's oral bench decision. The Court directed the Commission to handle the remand forthwith.
A pre-hearing conference was held on July 2, 1997, and a PreHearing Order on Reopening Record was issued July 3, 1997. This Order rejected Commission staff's testimony in the October, 1996, hearing, directed a new staff analysis in the case and certain financial reviews by staff, specified issues which the Commission wanted addressed consistent with its Motion of December, 1996, and set forth certain scheduling deadlines, including the hearing date.
A hearing on the reopened record was held on September 10 and 11, 1997.
On December 17, 1997, U S WEST Communications filed tariff sheets implementing the Commission's November 24, 1997, decision establishing switched access rates effective December 1, 1997. "This filing does not waive the right of U S WEST to appeal the Commission's decision, nor does it waive any issues concerning this matter which may be waived in any other regulatory or judicial proceedings."
TODAY, shall the Commission approve U S WEST's tariff sheets?
An amendment to the Wireless Interconnection Agreement between U S WEST Communications, Inc, and Western Wireless Corporation was filed with the Commission on December 12, 1997. The amendment consists of lowering the current nonrecurring charge for trunk routing changes from that of charging on a per trunk basis to charging on a per trunk group basis. This nonrecurring charge applies only when changing from Direct Final to Alternate Final to Direct Final.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the amendment to the interconnection agreement?
3. TC97-032 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. FOR APPROVAL OF AGREEMENT FOR SERVICE RESALE BETWEEN FIRSTEL, INC. AND U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
The First Amendment to Agreement For Service Resale between U S WEST Communications, Inc. and FirsTel, Inc. was filed with the Commission on December 12, 1997. This amendment adds or replaces language in the original agreement.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the amendment to the interconnection agreement?
An Amended Wireless Interconnection Agreement between U S WEST Communications, Inc, and CommNet Cellular, Inc. was filed with the Commission on December 12, 1997. The amendment consists of lowering the current nonrecurring charge for trunk routing changes from that of charging on a per trunk basis to charging on a per trunk group basis. This nonrecurring charge applies only when changing from Direct Final to Alternate Final to Direct Final.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the amended interconnection agreement?
In its Petition for Order to Show Cause, filed December 12, 1997, Commission staff stated that by failing to provide adequate service, USWC could endanger the health, safety, and welfare of South Dakota citizens if those citizens cannot reach, for example, emergency numbers, doctors, hospitals, police and fire protection. Further, the inability of citizens and businesses to have telecommunications services timely installed and be otherwise reliable affects economic development and commerce and the welfare of the entire state of South Dakota. The convenience of the public can be and is negatively affected. The foregoing factors raise questions as to the competency, sufficiency and quality of management of USWC in South Dakota and the taxpayers in South Dakota, to prevent out-of-service conditions and to otherwise manage USWC in a manner which delivers reliable service in a timely manner to its customers and those wanting to become its customers. The Commission took the matter under advisement a regularly scheduled meeting on January 8, 1998.
TODAY, shall the Commission issue an order to Show Cause directing U S WEST and its appropriate corporate officers and employees to appear before the Commission and demonstrate the financial, managerial and technical ability of U S WEST to continue to provide telecommunications services in South Dakota and why certain remedies contained in the Petition for an Order To Show Cause as filed in this docket should not be imposed upon U S WEST?
6. IN THE MATTER OF AUTOMATIC CHARGES BORNE BY CUSTOMERS WITH CLASS SERVICES WHO DIAL THEIR PHONES WITHIN TWO SECONDS OF THEIR PREVIOUS CALL. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy.)
The Commission has received recent complaints from consumers suggesting that they are being charged for a service called "last call forwarding" which they had not ordered. Staff's initial investigation reveals that this particular service is a conference call function included in any Class service offering such as Caller ID or Call Forwarding. Unbeknownst to the consumer, if the telephone is redialed within two seconds of a previous call, the customer triggers the three-way calling function of the Class services bundle. As a result, the customer is billed for the service without their knowledge.
TODAY, Staff has an update.
- A public hearing is scheduled for January 14, 1998, at 1:00 p.m. in Chamberlain, SD, at the Brule County Courthouse in Docket TC97-169 (Thompson v. USWC).
- January 15-18, 1998, Commissioners will be attending a MARC meeting in San Antonio.
- January 19, 1998, the Commission Office will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- January 21-23, 1998, Commissioner Burg will be attending NARUC meetings in Chicago.
- The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held Tuesday, February 3,1998, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 430 of the State Capitol Building.
January 13, 1998