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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Monday, April 26, 1999; 9:30 A.M.
State Capitol Building, Room 412
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 April 23, 1999. 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 Meetings Held On March 25, March 30, April 1 and April 8, 1999. (Staff: Shirleen Fugitt.)
1. Status Report On Consumer Utility Inquiries And Complaints Recently Received By The Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Leni Healy.)
The Commission has received 743 consumer contacts during 1999. 229 contacts have been received since the April 1, 1999, Commission meeting.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: 200 of the contacts involved telecommunication issues. 41 contacts involved the unauthorized switching of long distance service; 35 contacts involved "fluffing": the billing at higher rates than promised; 24 contacts involved the unauthorized billing for services; 22 contacts involved billing issues; 20 contacts concerned fees; 10 contacts reported poor service; 6 contacts involved 900 #s; 5 contacts concerned telemarketers; 5 contacts involved repair; 5 contacts concerned toll blocking; 4 contacts did not get service when scheduled; 4 contacts couldn't get released from service; 4 contacts concerned outages; 3 contacts involved disconnections; 2 contacts concerned deposits; 2 contacts concerned directory assistance; and the remaining issues were access codes, background checks, bidding, cell phones, collect calls, double billing, pay phones, and service transfer.
ELECTRICITY: 21 of the contacts involved electricity issues. 6 contacts involved billing issues; 4 contacts involved disconnections; 2 contacts concerned easements; 2 contacts concerned high bills; and the remaining issues were deposits, capacity, estimated reading, old debt and outages.
NATURAL GAS: 8 contacts involving natural gas were reported. 4 contacts involved disconnections; 2 contacts concerned billing; and the remaining issues were repair and won't disconnect.
A total of 470 complaints have been resolved informally during 1999.
2. EL98-023 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY BONNIE SLADE, FULTON, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST NORTHERN STATES POWER COMPANY CONCERNING OUTAGES. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On November 17, 1998, the Commission received a complaint by Bonnie Slade against Northern States Power Company. The Complainant claims an unusually high number of electrical outages has caused great inconvenience and aggravated health conditions. The Complainant requests that Northern States Power upgrade its lines and substations. The matter was heard at the December 14, 1998, Commission meeting when NSP indicated that the problem was being worked on and should be done in the spring.
TODAY, the Commission is asking for an update. How shall the Commission proceed? 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?
1. NG97-021 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER ESTABLISHING A NATURAL GAS LOCAL DISTRIBUTION UTILITY, AND TO ESTABLISH INITIAL NATURAL GAS TRANSPORTATION RATES FOR NORTHERN STATES POWER COMPANY. (Staff Analyst: Bob Knadle. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On December 16, 1997, Northern States Power Company filed an application for an order establishing a natural gas local distribution utility, and to establish initial natural gas transportation rates. The initial rate will allow NSP-SD to serve the new Hutchinson Technology, Inc. (HTI) facility in the Sioux Empire Development Park Number 5 in eastern Sioux Falls, SD through a new distribution lateral pipeline. HTI had contacted NSP-SD and requested the proposed service. The proposed tariff, rate schedule and form of service agreement would establish NSP-SD as a regulated utility in the State of South Dakota, subject to Commission jurisdiction. The proposed maximum rate is a volumetric rate per Mcf with a per month fixed customer service charge. At present, only HTI is affected by the proposed rate and tariff. The HTI plant is expected to be in commercial operation in February of 1998. In its January 28, 1998, Order, the Commission allowed NSP to flow gas through its pipeline, subject to refund, in order to accommodate HTI. At the January 12, 1998, Commission meeting, Commissioner Schoenfelder asked for clarification as to whether the Commission has jurisdiction to regulate NSP-SD as a gas utility. Intervention has been granted to MidAmerican Energy and PAM Natural Gas. A hearing in this matter was held on January 4, 1999.
TODAY, what is the Commission's decision?
2. NG98-012 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF MONTANA-DAKOTA UTILITIES CO. FOR APPROVAL OF REVISIONS TO ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, RATE 64. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On December 7, 1998, the Commission received an application by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for approval of Revisions to Rate 64 reflecting a new agreement executed November 30, 1998. Ellsworth Air Force base has installed a propane-air peaking system and is converting their firm natural gas service requirements to interruptible service. The revised tariff will reflect the new service agreement rates and conditions. The Commission heard this matter and took it under advisement at the March 9, 1999, Commission Meeting.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the application?
On August 25, 1998, GCC License Corporation, d/b/a Cellular One, filed a request with the Commission to designate it as an Eligible Telecommunications Company, as that term is used in 47 U.S.C. 214(e)(2), for all of the counties in South Dakota. DTG, SDITC and U S WEST have been granted intervention. A hearing in this matter was held on December 17, 1998.
TODAY, what is the Commission's decision?
2. TC98-192 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY GREG AND MARILYN BOLT, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST MCLEOD USA REGARDING DELAYED TRANSFER OF SERVICE. (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer. Consumer Representative: Leni Healy.)
On October 27, 1998, the Commission received a complaint by Greg and Marilyn Bolt against McLeod USA. The Complainant claims that a delay in transfer of telephone service caused loss of income. The Complainants seek the following relief: "I know we lost a $10,000 job because of not having a phone. Plus other jobs and 10 hours of time spent at a payphone. And no phone for emergency reasons. We feel we lost a minimum of $12,000." The Commission found probable cause in this matter on November 25, 1998. A hearing was scheduled for April 15, 1999. The hearing was cancelled at the request of the parties based on an apparent settlement agreement.
TODAY, shall the Commission close the docket?
3. TC98-197 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF INTERNET TELEPHONE COMPANY FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On November 12, 1998, the Commission received an application by Internet Telephone Company for a Certificate of Authority to provide intrastate switched outbound interexchange telecommunications service within the State of South Dakota.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority to Internet Telephone Company?
4. TC98-209 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS COOPERATIVE NETWORK, INC. FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On December 16, 1998, the Commission received an application by Telecommunications Cooperative Network, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to provide resold interexchange telecommunications services in the state of South Dakota. Proposed services include both inbound and outbound intraLATA toll services.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority to Telecommunications Cooperative Network, Inc.?
5. TC98-214 IN THE MATER OF THE FILING BY U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. FOR APPROVAL OF REVISIONS TO ITS EXCHANGE AND NETWORK SERVICES TARIFF. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On December 24, 1998, the Commission received a request from U S WEST Communications, Inc. to revise its exchange and network services tariff. U S WEST Communications filed "to assess a $.17 per month surcharge on all Sioux Falls customer access lines for the elimination of toll services from Sioux Falls to Dell Rapids and Colton, South Dakota. U S WEST proposes this charge be effective upon installation of the necessary facilities to offer the service." The matter was heard and taken under advisement at the March 25, 1999, meeting.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the proposed tariff change?
6. TC99-014 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION TO TRANSFER THE CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY FROM SPEER VIRTUAL MEDIA, LTD. TO SPEER COMMUNICATIONS VIRTUAL MEDIA, INC. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On February 20, 1999, the Commission received a request to transfer the Certificate of Authority from Speer Virtual Media, Ltd. to Speer Communications Virtual Media, Inc. and to approve of the adoption of Speer Virtual Media, Ltd.'s tariff by Speer Communications Virtual Media, Inc. Control of Speer Communications Virtual Media, Inc. will be transferred to Precision Systems, Inc. upon consummation of an agreement between privately-held companies, including Speer Virtual Media, Ltd., that are controlled by Roy M. Speer, and Precision Systems, Inc., a public corporation. On April 16, the Commission received a letter from Speer Communications Virtual Media, Inc., Speer Virtual Media, Ltd. indicating that the Speer companies have withdrawn the offer for acquisition and are withdrawing the application in this docket.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant the withdrawal of the application?
7. TC99-015 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS, LLC FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES, INCLUDING LOCAL EXCHANGE SERVICE, IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Keith Senger. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On February 16, 1999, the Commission received an application from Level 3 Communications for a Certificate of Authority to provide telecommunications services, including local exchange service, in South Dakota. Level 3 Communications is a reseller and facilities-based company who intends to provide all forms of local exchange and interexchange services in South Dakota.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority to Level 3 Communications?
8. TC99-023 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. FOR APPROVAL OF AN INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENT BETWEEN MIDCO COMMUNICATIONS, INC. D.B.A MIDCONTINENT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On March 16, 1999, the Commission received an interconnection agreement between MIDCO Communications, Inc. d.b.a. Midcontinent Communications, Inc. and U S WEST Communications, Inc. The comment period ended on April 7, 1999, and parties to the agreement could have filed written responses to the comments within twenty days of service of the comments.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the Interconnection Agreement?
9. TC99-026 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION TO TRANSFER THE CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY FROM BLACK HILLS FIBERCOM, INC. TO BLACK HILLS FIBERCOM, L.L.C. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On March 25, 1999, Black Hills FiberCom, Inc. filed with the Commission an application to transfer its Certificate of Authority to Black Hills FiberCom, L.L.C. Black Hills FiberCom, Inc. was granted authority to provide interexchange telecommunications services statewide and local telecommunications services within U S WEST Communications service areas on August 5, 1998. No parties have filed to intervene.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the transfer of the Certificate of Authority?
On March 30, 1999, the Commission received a filing by Golden West Communications, Inc. for approval of boundary change. Vivian Telephone Co. d/b/a Golden West Communications received a request from a developer to change the Custer exchange boundary to bring all of the developer's territory into the Custer exchange. Presently part of the developer's territory is in the Hot Springs exchange served by Golden West Cooperative. Both the Cooperative board and Vivian's board have approved the boundary change.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the boundary change?
Commission staff was asked to investigate the status of the regulated utilities in South Dakota and report on the utilities' efforts towards mitigating the potential problems posed by the Y2K computer problem.
TODAY, staff has an update. And, how shall the Commission proceed?
1. IN THE MATTER OF APPROVING VITALCHEK TO PROVIDE THE TRANSPORTATION/WAREHOUSE DIVISION WITH A MEANS TO ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS AS PAYMENT IN THE PROCESSING OF TRUCKING AND GRAIN DEALER/GRAIN WAREHOUSE APPLICATIONS. (Staff: Jeff Lorensen. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
Staff has received signed copies of a contract submitted to VitalChek to consider in providing the Transportation/Warehouse Division with a service allowing the division to accept credit cards as payment for trucking and grain dealer/grain warehouse applications. Staff requests the Commission to approve and sign these contracts.
TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?
1. A settlement hearing in docket NG98-011 (MidAmerican Rate Case) is scheduled for April 21, 1999, at 1:30pm, in Room 412 of the State Capitol, Pierre, SD.
2. A hearing in Docket TC98-187 (USWC catalog updates) is scheduled for April 27, 1999, at 9:30am in Room 412 of the State Capitol.
3. A hearing in GD99-001 (Britton Durum) is scheduled for May 4, 1999, at 1:30pm, in Room 412 of the State Capitol.
4. A hearing in RM99-001 (Slamming Rules) is scheduled for May 13, 1999, at 1:30pm, in Room 412 of the State Capitol.
5. The South Dakota Commission is hosting the MARC '99 Conference on June 27-29, 1999, at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn in Rapid City, South Dakota.
6. The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held Wednesday, May 12, 1999, at 10:00 a.m. in Room LCR#1 of the State Capitol Building.
Sue Cichos, Deputy Executive Director
April 19, 1999