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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Monday, December 7, 1998; 1:30 P.M.
State Capitol Building, Room 464
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, December 4, 1998. Please keep in mind that a limited number of telephone lines are available. Every effort should be made for parties in the same city to be on the same line when calling in.
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.
AGENDA OF THE COMMISSION MEETING
1. Approval Of The Minutes Of The Commission Meeting Held On November 25, 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 3079 consumer contacts during 1998. 87 contacts have been received since the November 25, 1998, Commission meeting.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: 74 of the contacts involved telecommunication issues. 18 contacts involved the unauthorized billing for services; 15 contacts involved unauthorized switching of long distance service; 6 contacts concerned repairs; 5 contacts involved billing issues; 4 contacts concerned directory assistance; 4 contacts concerned the assessment of higher rates than promised; 3 contacts involved 900#s; 3 contacts concerned 911 surcharges; 3 contacts involved new charges; 3 contacts involved high rates; 3 contacts involved installation; 2 contacts involved deposits; and the remaining issues were toll blocking, cellular service, damages, outages and pay phones.
ELECTRICITY: 8 contacts involving electricity were reported. 3 contacts involved outages; 2 contacts concerned disconnections, and the remaining issues were billing, deposit and high rates.
NATURAL GAS: 5 contacts involving natural gas were reported. 3 contacts involved billing issues and the remaining issues involved disconnections and payment plan.
A total of 2410 complaints have been resolved informally during 1998.Electric
1. EL98-022 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY BLACK HILLS POWER & LIGHT COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF AMENDMENT NO. 2 TO INDUSTRIAL CONTRACT SERVICE AGREEMENT WITH HOMESTAKE MINING COMPANY. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On November 17, 1998, Black Hills Power and Light Company filed an application requesting the Commission to approve Amendment No. 2 to its Industrial Contract Service Agreement between Black Hills and Homestake Mining Company. According to Amendment No. 1 to the agreement, Homestake would rebuild portions of its distribution system and have that substantially completed by December 31, 1998. Amendment No. 2 grants Homestake's request for an extension of the deadline to September 1, 1999. Homestake will also be 100% liable for the costs of any capital investment Black Hills must make at the Kirk Substation, from January 1, 1999, through September 1, 1999.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the amended agreement?Natural Gas
On November 23, 1998, MidAmerican Energy Company filed with the Commission an application for authority to increase natural gas rates in South Dakota. The application seeks an overall increase in rates in the amount of $3,218,414 or approximately 6.5%. The Company has requested a change in rates to become effective for billings after December 23, 1998.
TODAY, shall the Commission set an intervention deadline? Shall the Commission suspend the imposition of the tariff for 90 days? And, shall the Commission assess a filing fee for actual expenses not to exceed $100,000?Telecommunications
On October 10, 1997, the Commission received a request from U S WEST Communications, Inc. for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier. No parties filed to intervene. The Commission held a public hearing on November 19, 1997. The final decision was issued on December 17, 1997. On January 8, 1998, U S WEST Communications, Inc. applied for a rehearing. In it's order dated March 10, 1998, the Commission ordered that each of U S WEST's 38 exchanges as listed in the Finding of Fact I are designated as separate service areas; that U S WEST shall follow the advertising requirements as listed; and that U S WEST shall be granted a waiver of the requirement to offer single party service to all but 48 of the 612 multi-party customers until June 30, 1998, with the remaining 48 customers receiving a waiver until November 1, 1998; and that U S WEST is designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier for each of its service areas.
TODAY, there is an update on the status of the single party service. And, how shall the Commission proceed?
TC98-016 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY KEITH GLANZER, CARPENTER, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. REGARDING TELEPHONE SERVICE OUTAGES AND INADEQUATE SERVICE. (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
In January, 1998, the Commission received the listed complaints against U S WEST Communications, Inc. The complaints stated a variety of service problems and requests for relief. On February 3, 1998, and on February 10, 1998, the Commission reviewed the complaints and voted unanimously to find probable cause and served the complaints on U S WEST. The hearing for all of the above-listed dockets was held April 2, 1998, at the Crossroads Hotel and Convention Center, Huron, South Dakota. A May 12, 1998, meeting, the Commission voted unanimously to find that U S WEST has committed an unreasonable or unlawful act, practice, or omission in its failure to provide to the Carpenter Complainants adequate telephone service. The Commission ordered U S WEST to replace the current SLC 40 system in the Carpenter area with three NEC digital line carrier systems. The Commission found that this replacement is necessary for the improvement of telecommunications service in the Carpenter area and the convenience of the Complainants. It was further ordered, that U S WEST shall replace the current telecommunications system in the Carpenter area prior to the end of this year's construction season.
TODAY, there is an update. And, how shall the Commission proceed?
On April 30, 1998, The Local Exchange Carrier Association (LECA) filed its Switched Access Rates. On behalf of its member companies, LECA submitted revised tariff pages implementing the cost study revenue requirement that was filed by each member company. No parties filed to intervene.
TODAY, shall the Commission allow McCook Cooperative to adjust minutes of use for loss of minutes associated to the loss of customers due to the Spencer tornado? And, shall the Commission approve the LECA rates as adjusted by Staff?
4. TC98-138 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF ALLIANCE GROUP SERVICES INC. FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On July 27, 1998, the Commission received an application by Alliance Group Services Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to operate as a telecommunications company within the state of South Dakota. "Applicant seeks authority to provide MTS, out-WATS, in-WATS, and Calling Card services."
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority to Alliance Group Services, Inc.?
5. TC98-175 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY JOHN R. STEELE, PLANKINTON, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST MCI TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION REGARDING FRAUDULENT MARKETING PRACTICES. (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer. Consumer Representative: Leni Healy.)
On September 14, 1998, the Commission received a complaint by John R. Steele, Plankinton against MCI regarding fraudulent marketing practices. Complainant alleges that actual rates charged by MCI were higher than rates promised for intra and interstate long distance calls. Complainant is requesting that MCI honor a $.12 per minute rate along with a 20 percent rebate at the end of the first year; or that MCI switch his service back to DTG and rerate his current bill at the promised rate.
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?
6. TC98-196 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY DON JIRACEK ON BEHALF OF GSA, INC., RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST MCLEOD USA, REGARDING INADEQUATE SERVICE. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On November 2, 1998, the Commission received a complaint by Don Jiracek against McLeod USA. The Complainant claims that a delay of installation of telephone service caused loss of income. The Complainant is seeking $33,000 in damages for lost business.
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
- A hearing in Docket TC98-150 (Valley Telephone) is scheduled for December 3, 1998, in Room 412 at 1:30 p.m.
- A pre-hearing conference in Docket EL98-005 (Kuper complaint) is scheduled for December 4, 1998, at 10:00 a.m. in the Cactus Conference Room of the State Capitol.
- A hearing in Docket EL98-005 is scheduled for December 15-18, 1998, in the County Commissioner's Meeting Room in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
- A hearing in Docket TC98-146 is scheduled for December 17-18, 1998, in Room 412 of the State Capitol.
- A hearing in Docket NG97-021 is scheduled for January 4-5, 1999, in Room 412 of the State Capitol.
- Commissioners and Staff will be attending the MARC meetings in San Antonio, TX, January 6-10, 1999.
- The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held Monday, December 14, 1998, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 464 of the State Capitol Building.
Deputy Executive Director
November 30, 1998