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PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
Thursday, April 9, 1998; 10:00 A.M.
State Capitol Building, Room 468
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 Wednesday, April 8, 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 Meeting Held On March 26, 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 514 consumer contacts during 1998. 100 contacts have been received since the March 26, 1998, Commission meeting.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: 92 of the contacts involved telecommunication issues. 43 contacts involved the unauthorized switching of long distance service; 19 contacts involved the unauthorized billing for services; 6 contacts involved 900 #s; 4 contacts concerned wrong rates; 3 contacts involved billings; 3 contacts concerned disconnections; 3 contacts wanted service; 2 contacts wouldn't disconnect; 2 contacts were classified as "other"; and the remaining issues involved a deposit, double billing, fraud, high bill, poor service, privacy, and toll blocking.
ELECTRICITY: 5 contacts involved electricity. 2 contacts related to disconnections, and the remaining issues were competition, easements, and account transfers.
NATURAL GAS: 3 contacts involving natural gas were reported. Disconnection, high bills and wishing to establish a payment plan were reported.
A total of 265 complaints have been resolved informally during 1998.Electric
On March 19, 1998, the City of Pierre filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling regarding a transmission line. "The City of Pierre, because of the need for greater reliability has approved a route for a new 115kV transmission line. This line will interconnect Western Area Power Administration's Oahe-Pierre 115kV line with the City's Ash Substation, resulting in a loop system. This system will increase the reliability of the City's power supply by having the ability to "back up" any system outage that may occur." It is the City's assumption, based on the Siting Act, SDCL 49-41B-2.1, that no siting permit will be required for the construction of the line and therefore, requests that the Commission issue a declaratory ruling upholding its assumption. The deadline to intervene has been set for April 8, 1998. A hearing in this matter is scheduled for April 22, 1998.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant any interventions received prior to the intervention deadline?
2. EL98-005 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY DOUGLAS L. KUPER, LENNOX, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST LINCOLN-UNION ELECTRIC COMPANY REGARDING STRAY VOLTAGE. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On March 6, 1998, Douglas L. Kuper, Lennox, SD, filed a complaint against Lincoln-Union Electric Company regarding stray voltage. The complaint "has been and still is neglect in fixing the stray voltage that has ruined my dairy herd and livestock operation. It has been found to be coming from the down grounds on the poles and is leaking or crossing my farm. By this expert engineers and a physics professor have found the problem to be Lincoln-Union's through numerous tests and also by myself... It has also been felt in our house when taking a shower or bath. It's also being felt in the barn at various times. I have spent thousands of dollars rewiring my farm place which the power company suggested and no relief was accomplished. We did not see any relief until the ground wires along the power company lines were cut. This case has gone to court twice and I have won both times..." Mr. Kuper is asking the Commission to order Lincoln-Union Electric Company to update the system and has given several options.
TODAY, does the Commission find probable cause of an unlawful or unreasonable act, rate, practice or omission to go forward with this complaint and serve it upon Lincoln-Union?3. EL98-007 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY BASIN ELECTRIC POWER COOPERATIVE FOR APPROVAL OF A WAIVER FOR TEMPORARY REBUILDING OF A PORTION OF A 345 kV TRANSMISSION LINE. (Staff Engineer: Martin Bettmann. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On April 2, 1998, Basin Electric Power Cooperative filed for approval of temporary rebuilding of a portion of a transmission line. In 1974, Basin Electric built a 345 kV transmission line from its Leland Olds Station in Mercer County, North Dakota, to Watertown, South Dakota. A portion of this line was located near Nicholson Lake in Codington County, three miles southwest of Florence, South Dakota. When the line was constructed, all towers were on dry land; due to many years of high run-off conditions, several towers are now surrounded by water. On March 10, 1998, while a line crew was working to relieve the pressure from the ice, two towers collapsed and seven adjacent towers were partially damaged. Basin Electric has constructed a temporary transmission line bypass around the lake. The landowners have been contacted and additional easements obtained for this temporary line. Basin Electric now requests that the Commission waive compliance with Chapter 49-41B, for the temporary rebuild of the portion of the line that was destroyed by flooding conditions. The temporary bypass is necessary to maintain the 345 kV line.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant the requested waiver?Natural Gas
1. NG98-001 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF THE RAPID CITY GAS TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, LLC FOR A PERMIT TO CONSTRUCT A 6.625 INCH O.D. TRANSMISSION PIPELINE FACILITY IN PENNINGTON COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Engineer: Martin Bettmann. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On February 24, 1998, Rapid City Gas Transportation Company, LLC, applied for a permit to construct a 6.625 inch O.D. transmission pipeline and associated facilities. The Company proposed to construct, operate, and maintain the transmission line. The purpose of the facility is to supply natural gas to entities including, but not limited to, the Merillat Company, Rapid City, South Dakota. Merillat Company is a manufacturer of wood cabinets at a plant in Rapid City, South Dakota. "Merillat wants a direct connection from its pipeline transporter to its factory. It appears that there will be little demand in the area, other than Merillat, since the area is already served by a distribution system." The estimated construction cost of this proposed transmission pipeline and associated facilities is approximately $1,000,000.00. On March 24, 1998, Rapid City Gas Transportation Company filed a withdrawal of the petition.
TODAY, shall the Commission close the docket?Telecommunications
On January 14, 1997, the Commission received an application from U S WEST Communications, Inc. (U S WEST) seeking to allow U S WEST to implement an Interconnection Cost Adjustment Mechanism (ICAM) for a defined 36-month period. According to the application, "The ICAM is limited to one time, extraordinary or start-up costs for systems modifications or development, network rearrangements and business office processes effectively mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 for the convenience of and use by U S WEST's competitors, and to facilitate U S WEST's existing customers' ability to choose a different local exchange service provider. Because no current or proposed rate or charge will provide an opportunity for U S WEST to recover all of these extraordinary, one-time or start-up costs, U S WEST proposes the ICAM to recover the totality of such costs." An intervention deadline of January 31, 1997, was established and Dakota Cooperative Telecommunications, Inc. (DC ), subsidiaries Dakota Telecommunications Systems, Inc. (DTS) and Dakota Telecom, Inc. (DTI), PAM Communications (PAM), MCI Telecommunications Corporation (MCI), McLeodUSA Telecommunications Services, Inc. (McLeodUSA), Sprint Communications Company L.P. (Sprint), AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc. (AT&T), and Midco Communications, Inc. (Midco) filed Petitions to Intervene. A February 11, 1997, meeting the Commission granted the interventions. A procedural schedule was issued on April 11, 1997, and on April 17, 1997, U S WEST filed a request for an extension of time. On April 18, 1997, AT&T filed a motion for permission to conduct discovery. An amended procedural schedule was issued on April 24, 1997, establishing a hearing date of June 26 through 27, 1997. On May 2, 1997, the Commission granted the request for discovery and suspended the procedural schedule and hearing.
TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?
2. TC97-036 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF TOTALTEL, INC. FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Tammi Stangohr. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On November 25, 1997, TotalTel, Inc. filed for a Certificate of Authority to operate as a telecommunications company within the state of South Dakota. "Applicant is a switch-based reseller which intends to offer 1+ direct dialing, 800 toll free, and travel card (no prepaid calling cards) service through the resale of telephone services provided by facilities-based interexchange carriers."
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate Of Authority to TotalTel, Inc.?
3. TC98-061 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF DAKOTA TELECOM, INC. AND DAKOTA TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS, INC. SEEKING AUTHORITY TO INVOKE SECTION 252(i) OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996 TO UTILIZE THE NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT BETWEEN SPRINT COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY, L.P. AND U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On February 25, 1998, Dakota Telecom, Inc. and Dakota Telecommunications Systems, Inc. filed a petition to utilize, in its entirety, the negotiated agreement between Sprint Communications Company, L.P. and U S WEST Communications, Inc. which was filed for approval with the Commission on August 27, 1997, and which was approved by the Commission, subject to minor revisions, on November 18, 1997.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the petition?Announcements
- A show cause hearing regarding Basic Long Distance is scheduled for 9:00 a.m., on April 16, 1998, in Room 412 of the State Capitol Building.
- A public hearing in Docket EL97-020 (City of Vermillion) is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., on April 16, 1998, in Room 412 of the State Capitol Building.
- Commissioners Burg and Nelson will be attending the NRRI/NARUC Commissioner's Summit in Denver on April 19-21, 1998.
- A public hearing in Docket EL98-004 (City of Pierre) is scheduled for 8:15 a.m., on April 22, 1998 in Room 468 of the State Capitol Building.
- Staff and Commissioner Burg will be attending the ROC meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 25-27, 1998
- Bill Bullard will be attending meetings in Atlanta on April 25-28, 1998.
- The PUC Pipeline Safety Program is hosting a Small Operators Seminar and Regulations and Code Compliance Seminar at the Kings Inn, Knights Room, Pierre, SD, on April 28-30, 1998.
- The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held Wednesday, April 22, 1998, at 2:00 p.m. in Room 468 of the State Capitol Building.
April 2, 1998