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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Tuesday, June 30, 1998; 1:30 P.M.
State Capitol Building, Room LCR1
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 Monday, June 29, 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 June 11 and 12, 1998. (Staff: Shirleen Fugitt.)Consumer Affairs
1. Status Report On Consumer Utility Inquiries And Complaints Recently Received By The Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Leni Healy.)
The Commission has received 1021 consumer contacts during 1998. 190 contacts have been received since the May 28, 1998, Commission meeting.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: 164 of the contacts involved telecommunication issues. 54 of the contacts involved the unauthorized switching of telecommunications service; 29 involved the unauthorized billing for services; 12 contacts concerned billing issues; 10 contacts did not receive service when promised; 9 contacts were given the wrong rates; 7 contacts reported poor service; 6 contacts wanted upgraded services; 5 contacts involved telemarketers; 5 contacts involved 900 number calls; 4 contacts involved incorrect directory information; 3 contacts involved disconnections; and the remaining contacts involved 9-0 scam, discrimination, fee, harassing calls, toll blocking, untimely transfer of service, Internet, long distance service, payment plan, PIC fees, and psychic calls.
ELECTRICITY: 16 of the contacts involved electricity issues. 7 disconnection issues were addressed; 2 contacts involved billing; 2 contacts involved damages; 2 contacts involved poor service; and the remaining issues included high bills, power outages and "other."
NATURAL GAS: 7 contacts involving natural gas were reported. 4 contacts concerned disconnections; and the remaining issues were refusal to disconnect, refusal to send rebates, and "other."
A total of 654 complaints have been resolved informally during 1998.Natural Gas
1. NG98-004 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY NORTHWESTERN PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF REFUND PLAN RELATING TO KANSAS AD VALOREM TAX REFUNDS RECEIVED FROM NORTHERN NATURAL GAS COMPANY. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On May 19, 1998, Northwestern Public Service filed for approval of a refund plan relating to Kansas ad valorem tax refunds received from Northern Natural Gas Company. To date NWPS has received $428,751.41 in total Kansas ad valorem tax refunds from Northern Natural Gas. These refunds are being made pursuant to the FERC Commission's Order in Docket Nos. RP97-369-000, et al. NWPS seeks Commission approval to net the refund dollars against the current true-up balance, thus spreading the refund to customers, with interest, over a twelve month period. A typical residential customer will see an $0.82 per month reduction in their natural gas bill.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the refund plan?
2. NG98-006 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY MIDAMERICAN ENERGY COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF WAIVER OF REFUND PLAN RELATING TO KANSAS AD VALOREM TAX REFUNDS RECEIVED FROM NORTHERN NATURAL GAS COMPANY. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On June 18, 1998, MidAmerican Energy Company filed for approval of waiver of refund plan relating to Kansas ad valorem tax refunds received from Northern Natural Gas Company. To date MidAmerican has received $4,450,770.55 in total Kansas ad valorem tax refunds from Northern Natural Gas. These refunds are being made pursuant to the FERC Commission's Order in Docket Nos. RP97-369-000, et al. MidAmerican respectfully requests the Commission to permit retention of the refund amount received from Northern Natural Gas Company until such time as MidAmerican determines that the amount received constitutes a final refund. At such time, MidAmerican will file a refund plan and calculate accrued interest on the refund amounts at the rate of 9.429%.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the refund plan?Gas and Electric
1. GE98-001 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY NORTHWESTERN PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF REVISIONS TO ITS GAS AND ELECTRIC TARIFFS. (Staff Analysts: Greg Rislov and Bob Knadle. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On February 17, 1998, Northwestern Public Service filed for approval of revisions to its gas and electric tariffs. The filing states that NWPS has had purchased gas, fuel, and tax adjustment clauses as part of its tariffs for many years. In this filing, NWPS proposes to combine these into an adjustment clause which aligns NWPS's clause with all of the provisions of SDCL 49-34A-25. In addition, the proposed tariffs will help NWPS to accommodate expected changes within the gas and electric industries related to unbundling of services, and any changes in the tax treatment of utility property or sales transactions.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the tariff revisions?Electric
1. EL98-010 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY MARION AND L. R. STALLINGS, LEAD, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST BLACK HILLS POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY REGARDING INSTALLATION FEES. (Staff Analyst: Steve Wegman. Legal Intern: Ethan Meaney.)
On May 19, 1998, the Commission received a complaint from Marion and L. R. Stallings, Lead, SD, against Black Hills Power and Light regarding installation fees. The complaint explains that the Complainant constructed a cabin outside of Deadwood, SD and at the time requested power service from BHPL. The Complainants paid the quote of $2,684.00 (a rate of $3.00 per foot). After later seeing the survey the Complainants realized that they had been overbilled by 332 feet (332 x $3.00 = $996.00). BHPL agreed that they had been overcharged but could not bill the other residents at that time. The Complainants also removed approximately 20 trees during the time based on information from BHPL. However, when the pole was installed, it was placed in a different location. The Complainants want the money refunded that they over paid for the installation of the power line.
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 the Respondent?
2. EL98-012 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY MONTANA-DAKOTA UTILITIES CO., A DIVISION OF MDU RESOURCES GROUP, INC. FOR APPROVAL OF REVISIONS TO ITS OCCASIONAL POWER PURCHASE NON-TIME DIFFERENTIATED RATE 95, SHORT-TERM POWER PURCHASE TIME DIFFERENTIATED RATE 96 AND LONG-TERM POWER PURCHASE TIME DIFFERENTIATED RATE 97. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On June 1, 1998, the Commission received a filing from Montana-Dakota Utilities, Co., a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc. for approval of revisions to its occasional power purchase non-time differentiated rate 95, short-term power purchase time differentiated rate 96 and long-term power purchase time differentiated rate 97. This filing is made in compliance with the Commission's Order F-3365 and in accordance with the Special Terms and Conditions of these tariffs which state that the rate schedules will be reviewed annually and revised upon the Commission's approval.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the tariff revisions?
3. EL98-013 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY NORTHERN STATES POWER COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF ITS REVISED RATE SHEETS FOR ITS OCCASIONAL DELIVERY ENERGY SERVICE AND TIME OF DELIVERY ENERGY SERVICE. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On June 8, 1998, the Commission received a filing from Northern States Power Company for approval of its revised rate sheets for its occasional delivery energy service and time of delivery energy service. The proposed NSP Occasional Delivery Energy Service rate sheet is revised to reflect a five cents per month higher metering charge and increased energy payment. The energy payment is based on NSP's 1998 avoided cost estimate. The proposed Time of Delivery Energy Service rate sheet is revised to reflect a comparable five cents per month increase in metering charge as the Occasional Delivery Energy Service. Energy and capacity payments are also revised to reflect the Company's 1998 avoided costs projection.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the tariff revisions?
4. EL98-014 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY MOREAU-GRAND ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE INC. AND THE CITY OF MCLAUGHLIN FOR APPROVAL OF CONSENT AND AGREEMENT FOR ELECTRIC SERVICE IN ASSIGNED TERRITORY OF ANOTHER ELECTRIC SUPPLIER. (Staff Engineer: Martin Bettmann. Legal Intern: Ethan Meaney.)
On June 9, 1998, Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative Inc. and the City of McLaughlin filed for approval of consent and agreement for electric service in assigned territory or another electric supplier. These companies have entered into a consent and agreement for electric service and request Commission approval.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the agreement?
5. EL98-015 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY DAVE OVERLAND, SIOUX FALLS, SD, AGAINST NORTHERN STATES POWER COMPANY REGARDING EXCESSIVE REPAIR CHARGES. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On June 1, 1998, the Commission received a complaint from Dave Overland, Sioux Falls, SD, against Northern States Power Company regarding excessive repair charges. The Complainant states that while cutting a tree branch, the tip caught the NSP line and pulled the conduit from the house. The Complainant still had power to the lower level of the house. NSP reattached the conduit to the house, he Complainant had to pay an electrician to attach the wire to restore power to the upstairs of the house. About a month later, the Complainants received a bill for $401.69. Prior to receiving the bill, the Complainant had no knowledge of the charge. The Complainant asks the charge be reduced to a reasonable fee and also asks that the public be informed of charges levied by the company.
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 the Respondent?Telecommunications
1. TC98-076 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF NXLD COMPANY FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Tammi Stangohr. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On April 27, 1998, NXLD Company filed for a Certificate of Authority to provide telecommunications services in South Dakota. NXLD "proposes to provide 24-hour intrastate interexchange telecommunications services to and from all points within the state....Subject to demand and overall economic circumstances, NXLD may subsequently offer additional services."
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate Of Authority to NXLD Company?
2. TC98-107 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF OLS, INC. FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Legal Intern: Ethan Meaney.)
On May 28, 1998, OLS, Inc. filed for a Certificate of Authority to provide telecommunications services in South Dakota. The applicant seeks authority to provide outbound interexchange, 800/888, calling card and directory assistance services. The applicant does not intend to offer 900, 911, collect or third-party billed calling.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate Of Authority to OLS, Inc.?
3. TC98-121 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY DOUGLAS g. PETTIGREW, WETONKA, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. REGARDING SERVICE PROBLEMS. (Staff Analyst: Steve Wegman. Legal Intern: Ethan Meaney.)
On May 19, 1998, the Commission received a complaint from Douglas Pettigrew, Wetonka, SD, against U S WEST Communications, Inc.regarding service problems. "For years we have had problems with loss of service for hours to days in duration. The lack of service often had to wait over the weekend after being reported to be repaired. Disruption of service occurs throughout the year but most often during the winter months or during stormy weather. In October 1997, we purchased a FAX machine for personal and business use. On some occasions faxes are sent without problem. At least 50-60% of the time, we are unable to send a fax due to 'line error.' On some occasions, we try 3-4 times before a message is faxed and on other occasions, we may have to wait a period of time before attempting again. From reports from our neighbors, our area is unable to successfully have the Caller ID feature. This is something we would like to obtain but are unable due to the problems. In addition, we would like to purchase another computer in the future and have access to E-mail and the Internet. But again, this service is not possible for phone customers in our area. Our telephone service provider has been lacking for years in just providing basic, dependable, consistent service. We are paying for services we do not receive and, in addition, do not have the capability of receiving services or features that practically all subscribers have." The complainant requested the following relief: "I feel U S WEST Communications needs to replace the archaic system in our area as soon as possible to meet basic and future needs. We have paid for a service for years which we are not receiving and which is not meeting the subscribers' needs. Moreover, repeated problems have not been solved- -only fixed temporarily."
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 the Respondent?Announcements
- Commissioners Burg and Nelson will be attending the NARUC meetings in Minneapolis, July 8-9, 1998.
- The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held Tuesday, July 21, 1998, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 412 of the State Capitol Building.
June 25, 1998