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Please see Notice of Change
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Tuesday, July 27, 1999; changed to Thursday, July 29, 1999
1:30 P.M. changed to 10:00 A.M.
State Capitol Building, Room LCR#1
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 July 26, 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 Meeting Held On July 13, 1999. (Staff: Shirleen Fugitt.)
1. Status Report On Consumer Utility Inquiries And Complaints Recently Received By The Commission. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy.)
The Commission has received 1505 consumer contacts during 1999. 111 contacts have been received since the July 13, 1999, Commission meeting.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: 94 of the contacts involved telecommunications. 24 of the contacts involved fluffing: the raising of rates without notice; 16 contacts concerned the unauthorized billing for services, 14 of the contacts involved the unauthorized switching of long distance service; 11 of the contacts involved billing issues; 8 contacts involved poor service; 6 contacts involved dialing parity; and the remaining issues involved disconnections, double billing, excessive charges, harassing calls, held orders, leased equipment, measured service, spamming, telemarketing, unburied cable, and won't transfer.
ELECTRICITY: 12 of the contacts involved electricity issues. 3 contacts involved poor service; 2 contacts involved disconnections; 2 contacts involved outages and the remaining issues involved high bill, repair, wants service, billing and other.
NATURAL GAS: 5 contacts involving natural gas were reported. 3 contacts involved the pending rate increase; 1 contact involved disconnection; and 1 contact involved billing.
A total of 1037 complaints have been resolved informally during 1999.
2. TC98-142 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY W. JOSEPH CLAFLIN, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. REGARDING UPDATING LINES. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On July 31, 1998, the Commission received a complaint by W. Joseph Claflin against U S WEST regarding updating lines. The complaint states: "As President of Edelweiss Mountain Improvement Association, I represent 54 homeowners and 49 potential homebuilders on Edelweiss Mountain Development, three and one-half miles west of Hi-Way 385 at the Black Forest Inn turnoff. I am writing on behalf of the users of the 75 phone lines in our community. Since moving to Edelweiss in June, 1997, and having been elected President of this Association, members of this Association have complained about our poor phone service and the inability to effectively connect to Internet services. After making numerous phone calls to various U S WEST personnel during the fall and winter of 1997-98, without satisfaction in improved phone quality, I wrote to the PUC [February 2, 1998]. During the fall of 1997 a number of residents attempted to take advantage of some of the "class services" provided by U S WEST but were told on a number of occasions that we are guaranteed only a dial tone. It seems that the "switching tower" at the entrance of our development is unable to provide anything more than voice communication. This system, a "slick 40" system, was installed in the early 1970's and has not been updated since.... The people who live in this development, permanently or seasonally, have been paying, for the past 25 years, the same phone charges that exist in urban areas, but have been receiving poor phone service through antiquated equipment." Other issues outlined include termination of phone conversations with loud screeching or static and access to the Internet is almost impossible. The residents of Edelweiss Mountain community request that U S WEST install upgraded telecommunications equipment that will put them at the same level of efficiency as those U S WEST customers in Rapid City. And, "we request that an upgrade in equipment and service be completed within the next year as our emergency phone needs, Internet access, day-to-day communications requirements, and our proposed business use, are all in jeopardy without reasonable communications capabilities." A August 18, 1998 meeting, the Commission found probable cause but deferred any action until July 31, 1999.
TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?
3. TC98-155 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY LORETTA SPEAR, HILL CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. REGARDING UPDATING LINES. (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer. Consumer Representative: Leni Healy.)
On September 3, 1998, the Commission received a complaint by Loretta Spear against U S WEST Communications regarding updating lines. Complainant raises service issues including static on their lines, service disruptions, delayed repairs, and inability to receive Caller ID subscription. The Complainant requests the following relief: "Insure that credit is given for Caller ID and 3 weeks without telephone service. Also resolution to updating telephone service in the area." A hearing in this matter was held on December 15, 1998. Staff requested deferral of this matter at the June 8, 1999, Commission meeting.
TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed? AND, what is the Commission's decision?
4. TC98-194 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY BASEC.NET, HURON, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS AND FIRSTEL, INC. REGARDING BILLING ISSUES. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On October 26, 1998, the Commission received a Complaint by Marvie Tschetter of Basec.Net against U S WEST Communications, Inc. and FirsTel, Inc. The Complainant purchased an existing business and contacted U S WEST to continue customer access through T-1 lines. U S WEST informed the Complainant that Basec.Net could not take over payment of the lines unless the previous owner's debt was paid in full. Basec.Net decided to move the equipment and obtain services through FirsTel. After obtaining the services, Basec.Net was informed by U S WEST that they would be charged for installation/construction fees, the old billings of the previous owner, and additional charges for monthly service until other options were available. Neither U S WEST nor FirsTel disclosed these costs prior to providing service. FirsTel offered a plan with minimal installation fees but could not offer the service for 15-20 days which would not allow Basec.Net's customers access to their services. The Complainant seeks the following relief: "1) Require U S WEST to inform promptly of facilities issues. 2) Some sort of financial compensation for loss of revenue." The Commission ordered a finding of probable cause and set the hearing for this matter on March 31-April 1, 1999. On March 1, 1999, U S WEST filed a motion to amend U S WEST's answer to cross claim of FirsTel, Inc. On March 3, 1999, the Commission received a motion to dismiss cross-claim of FirsTel, Inc. against U S WEST from U S WEST. The Commission heard this matter and took it under advisement a March 9, 1999, Commission Meeting. On July 12, 1999, the Commission received a signed stipulation and proposed order for Dismissal with Prejudice in this matter.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant the request to dismiss with prejudice and close the docket?
5. 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. On December 7, 1999, the Commission ordered a finding of probable cause to go forward with this complaint. The Commission approved the amendments to the complaint on December 14, 1998. A hearing in this matter was held on April 15, 1999.
TODAY, what is the Commission's decision?
6. CT99-009 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY THELMA "SALLY" FOX, HURON, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST TOUCHTONE COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING UNAUTHORIZED BILLING FOR SERVICES AND LACK OF A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On July 8, 1999, the Commission received a complaint filed by Thelma "Sally" Fox, Huron, South Dakota, against Touchtone Communications. The Complainant alleges that she was contacted by a telemarketer wishing to switch her long distance service. The Complainant claims she declined the offer but requested that information be sent to her. She later received a billing from Touchtone Communications. Touchtone Communications is not listed as a company holding a Certificate of Authority from the Public Utilities Commission. The Complainant seeks the following relief: "I'd like these charges removed from my telephone bill."
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?
On June 1, 1999, Northwestern Public Service filed a docket requesting review and approval pursuant to Administrative Rule 20:10:16:02 for their new Customer Handbook. This matter was deferred at the July 13, 1999 Commission meeting.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the proposed customer information handbook?
1. EL99-007 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY BLACK HILLS POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF ITS 1998 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN ANNUAL REPORT AND 1999 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN. (Staff Analyst: Michele Farris. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On May 5, 1999, the Commission received a filing from Black Hills Power and Light Company of: (1) a report of its 1998 economic development activity as required by SD Public Utilities Commission docket EL95-003; and (2) setting forth its 1999 economic development plan in accordance with the same docket.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the Economic Development Plan of BHPL?
2. EL99-009 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY NORTHERN STATES POWER COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF ITS 1998 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REPORT AND 1999 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN. (Staff Analyst: Michele Farris. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)
On May 24, 1999, the Commission received a filing from Northern States Power Company in accordance with South Dakota Public Utilities Commission docket EL91-004: (1) a report of its 1998 economic development and (2) a proposed economic development investment budget for 1999.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the Economic Development plan of NSP?
On June 1, 1999, the Commission received an application from NorthWestern Public Service, a division of Northwestern Corporation, for an increase in rates for natural gas service in South Dakota. The Company has requested that the proposed increase of $2,108,112 or approximately 6.3% become effective July 1, 1999. Staff is submitting a proposed contract to the Commission.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve staff's proposed contract? And, shall the Commission delegate the authority to enter into the contract to the Executive Director?
1. TC99-021 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF PROMISE-NET INTERNATIONAL, LTD. FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Keith Senger. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On March 11, 1999, the Commission received an Application for a Certificate of Authority from Promise-Net International, LTD. Promise-Net International, Ltd. is a reseller which intends to offer switched and dedicated access, 800/888 toll free, 1 plus, and prepaid calling card interexchange services on a statewide basis.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority to Promise-Net International, LTD.?
2. TC99-040 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF CABLE & WIRELESS GLOBAL MARKETS, INC. FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Keith Senger. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On April 19, 1999, Cable & Wireless Global Markets, Inc. filed for a Certificate of Authority. Cable & Wireless Global Markets, Inc. is a reseller who intends to offer interexchange interLATA and intraLATA telecommunication services on a statewide basis.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority to Cable & Wireless Global Markets, Inc.?
3. TC99-075 IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SWITCHED ACCESS REVENUE REQUIREMENT FOR MOBRIDGE TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY. (Staff Analysts: Harlan Best/Keith Senger. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
On June 29, 1999, Mobridge Telecommunications Company filed a switched access cost study developing a revenue requirement that is included in the revenue requirement used to determine the switched access rates for the Local Exchange Carrier Association. Mobridge Telecommunications Company requests that the Commission allow the use of GVNW's cost study model as opposed to the Commission model for determining Mobridge Telecommunications Company's revenue requirement.
TODAY, shall the Commission allow Mobridge Telecommunications Company to use the GVNW cost study model?
1. Commissioners and staff will be attending the NARUC meetings July 18-27, 1999.
2. The Commission's outreach booth will be at the Sioux Empire Fair on August 10-15, 1999 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
3. Commissioner Burg will be attending a GRI meeting on August 11-12, 1999.
4. The Commission's outreach booth will be at the State Fair in Huron on August 31-September 6, 1999.
5. Commissioners and staff will be attending the ROC meeting in Denver on September 11-13, 1999.
6. The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held Tuesday, August 17, 1999, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 413 of the State Capitol Building.
Sue Cichos, Deputy Executive Director
July 20, 1999