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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 at 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 May 9, 2005.

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 March 8, March 29, March 31, April 4, April 12, and April 26, 2005. (Staff: Tina Douglas.)

Consumer Issues

1. Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Jim Mehlhaff)

2. CT05-005 In the Matter of the Complaints filed by Customers of S&S Communications. (Staff Analyst: Keith Senger, Staff Attorneys: John Smith/Sara Greff)

As of April 21, 2005, 145 customer complaints are pending against S&S Communications (S&S) in Dockets CT03-010 - CT03-096; CT03-098 - CT03-130; CT03-132 - CT03-147; CT03-149 - CT03-153; CT03-156 - CT03-159 (Complaints). The Complaints all generally allege that complainants had contracted and pre-paid for long distance telephone service from S&S for multi-year terms extending beyond June 3, 2003, and that on or about June 3, 2003, S&S ceased providing the telephone service for which the complainants had pre-paid. On August 28, 2003, the Commission issued an order revoking S&S's certificate of authority. On April 15, 2005, Commission Staff filed a Motion to Consolidate and opened this docket for the purpose of consolidating the Complaints and any Complaints that might be subsequently filed. Staff's Motion to Consolidate alleges that all of the Complaints are against the same defendant(s) and share common issues of law and fact, that consolidation will promote both efficiency and fairness in resolving the Complaints and that consolidation will permit joinder of all complainants in any subsequently commenced action under SDCL 49-13-27.

TODAY shall the Commission grant Staff's Motion to Consolidate? AND, shall the Commission order that any subsequently filed complaints against S&S involving the same subject matter be consolidated into this docket? AND, shall the Commission order such other relief as requested in the Motion to Consolidate?


1. EL05-006 In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy for Approval of Tariff Revisions. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)

Filing by NorthWestern Energy for approval of revisions to electric tariff schedules Option N and Option L. The proposed tariff revisions would allow NorthWestern Energy, without prior Commission approval, to discount energy charges applicable to new customers, receiving service at new locations, with a demand of 2 megawatts or more in order to offer competitive rates.

TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Tariff Revisions?

2. EL05-010 In the Matter of the Filing by Xcel Energy for Approval of Its 2004 Economic Development Annual Report and 2005 Economic Development Plan (Staff Analyst: Michele Farris, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)

On March 25, 2005, Xcel Energy filed for Commission approval its 2004 economic development report and the 2005 economic development budget. The report includes the budget that was planned for the year 2004, the actual economic development investments that Xcel Energy made in 2004, and the planned budget for 2005.

TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the 2004 Economic Development Report and the 2005 Economic Development Plan?

3. EL05-011 In the Matter of the Filing by Otter Tail Corporation d/b/a Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of an Electric Service Agreement for the Supply of Bulk Interruptible Power between Otter Tail Corporation d/b/a Otter Tail Power Company and Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)

Application by Otter Tail Power Company for re-approval of an Electric Service Agreement to service Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc. pursuant to Otter Tail's currently effective Bulk Interruptible Service Tariff. The current Electric Service Agreement between Otter Tail Power Company and Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc. became effective June 1, 2004, with a term of one year and Otter Tail has requested approval of the new Agreement effective June 1, 2005. The term of the new proposed Electric Service Agreement is five years.

TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Electric Service Agreement?

4. EL05-013 In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of an Electric Service Agreement between Black Hills Power, Inc. and the State of South Dakota for the Operations of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Black Hills State University. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)

Application by Black Hills Power, Inc. for approval of an Electric Service Agreement with the State of South Dakota to continue to provide electric distribution and Supplemental Supply service to Black Hills State University and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Currently Black Hills Power, Inc. provides electric transmission, distribution and Supplemental Supply to these State facilities under a contract dated June 1, 2000. The existing contract term extended until June 30, 2003, with the ability to be continued until terminated by either Party giving the other Party one year notice.

TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Electric Service Agreement?


1. TC01-098 In the Matter of Determining Prices for Unbundled Network Elements (UNES) in Qwest Corporation's Statement of Generally Available Terms (SGAT). (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

On July 27, 2001, Qwest Corporation (Qwest) filed a petition for the purpose of determining Qwest's forward looking costs to be used in setting the prices for the elements and services contained in Qwest's Statement of Generally Available Terms (SGAT) and setting a scheduling conference for the purpose of adopting a procedural schedule for the orderly progression of this filing. Qwest filed its most recent South Dakota specific total element long run incremental cost (TELRIC) studies for those Unbundled Network Elements offered in Qwest's SGAT. Qwest is not generally seeking changes to those prices already established by this Commission in the AT&T Arbitration (TC96-184). Qwest recommends that this Commission declare those previously established prices to be Qwest's permanent TELRIC-based wholesale prices. For those services that were not addressed in previous pricing decisions of this Commission, Qwest offers its cost studies and supporting materials in support of the prices depicted in its filing. Qwest will not seek cost recovery for its Operations Support Systems until testing of said systems has been successfully completed. Qwest proposes a series of informal workshops to precede the preparation and filing of more formal positions of Staff and any other interested parties. At these workshops Qwest will explain and, if requested, provide "hands-on" assistance for the use of its Integrated Cost Model and other cost models. Following the workshop phase, Qwest then proposes that the case move to a more formal schedule that provides for direct and rebuttal testimony and an evidentiary hearing on those issues remaining after the informal workshop process is completed. AT&T was granted intervention on September 5, 2001. The contract between the Commission and the consultant, QSI Consulting, expired on January 27, 2005. The Commission extended the duration of the contract, but not the amount at its February 8, 2005, meeting. Staff is requesting that the contract with QSI be increased in the amount of $20,000.

TODAY, shall the Commission Amend the Consulting Contract?

2. TC03-193 In the Matter of the Filing by RCC Minnesota, Inc. and Wireless Alliance, L.L.C. d/b/a Unicel for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: John Smith)

On November 18, 2003, RCC Minnesota, Inc. and Wireless Alliance, L.L.C. d/b/a Unicel (collectively, RCC) filed a petition to be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) for purposes of qualifying to obtain federal universal service support in the areas of certain non-rural and rural telephone companies. RCC Minnesota, Inc. is authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the Cellular Radiotelephone Service provider in the South Dakota Rural Service Area 4 - Marshall, South Dakota. Wireless Alliance, L.L.C is authorized by the FCC as the Personal Communications Service carrier in the partitioned area of the Minneapolis-St. Paul MTA012 which encompasses Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties, South Dakota, in the Sioux Falls Basic Trading Area (BTA 422). RCC also requests the Commission to redefine the following Rural LEC Service Areas: Alliance Communications Cooperative, Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc., James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company, PrairieWave Community Telephone, Inc., and Sioux Valley Telephone Company. On December 4, 2003, Petitions to Intervene were filed by James Valley Cooperative Telephone, Union Telephone Company, Stockholm-Strandburg Telephone Company, Venture Communications Cooperative, and Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative. Sioux Valley Telephone Company, PrairieWave Communications, South Dakota Telecommunications Association, Roberts County Telephone Cooperative Association, RC Communications, Inc., and Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. each filed Petitions to Intervene on December 5, 2003. The Commission granted intervention to the above named parties on December 16, 2003. The matter was originally noticed for hearing for July 27, 28, and 29, 2004. The matter has been rescheduled for October 14 and 15, 2004. On August 25, 2004, RCC fax filed a Request For Opportunity to File Surrebuttal Testimony requesting a filing deadline of Sept 14, 2004, for such testimony. The Commission granted RCC's Request to File Surrebuttal Testimony at its August 31, 2004, meeting. The filing deadline for the testimony was set as September 14, 2004. On March 24, 2005, the Intervenors filed a Motion to Submit a Supplemental Brief. At its March 29, 2005, Ad Hoc meeting, the Commission voted to allow the Supplemental Brief to be filed electronically by the Intervenors and Staff no later than April 8, 2005. RCC shall file its Supplemental Brief electronically no later than April 11, 2005. Oral arguments were heard at the April 12, 2005, Commission Meeting.

TODAY, what is the Commission's Decision?

3. TC04-225 In the Matter of the Filing by VCI Company for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On November 15, 2004, VCI Company filed a petition for designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) in Qwest Corporation exchanges in South Dakota. VCI Company is a competitive local exchange carrier providing wireline services primarily through the leasing of Unbundled Network Elements.

TODAY, shall the Commission enter an Order designating VCI Company as an ETC for its requested ETC service area, AND shall the Commission provide a certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the Universal Service Administration Company regarding the plan for the use of federal universal services support?

4. TC05-001 In the Matter of the Application of Phone1, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Alternative Operator Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Keith Senger, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)

On January 13, 2005, Phone1, Inc. filed an application seeking a Certificate of Authority to provide interexchange services throughout South Dakota. The Applicant intends to provide operator assisted services to call aggregator locations. On May 4, 2005, Phone 1 requested a withdrawal of their application.

TODAY, shall the Commission Grant the Withdrawal?

5. TC05-020 In the Matter of the Filing by McLeodUSA Telecommunications Services, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Switched Access Tariff. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On February 11, 2005, McLeodUSA Telecommunications Services, Inc. filed for textual changes to the Application, the Definition, and the Regulations Sections of its Access Tariff.

TODAY, shall the Commission approve the Switched Access Tariff Revisions?

6. TC05-055 In the Matter of the Filing by Qwest Corporation for Approval of Revisions to its Access Service Tariff. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)

On March 28, 2005, Qwest Corporation filed to introduce clarifying language for its Common Channel Signaling Access Capability in the Access Service Tariff. "This language was developed and agreed to in discussions with AT&T. These changes have no customer cost or rate impact but all affected customers are being sent an individual letter notifying them of the filing."

TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Tariff Revisions?

7. TC05-056 In the Matter of the Petition of DIECA Communications, Inc. d/b/a Covad Communications Company for Arbitration of an Interconnection Agreement with Qwest Corporation. (Commission Attorney: Rolayne Ailts Wiest)

On March 28, 2005, DIECA Communications, Inc., d/b/a Covad Communications Company (Covad) filed a petition to arbitrate certain terms and conditions of a proposed Interconnection Agreement between Covad and Qwest Corporation (Qwest). In its petition, Covad states that "Covad and Qwest have been unable to come to agreement on all terms, particularly certain terms relating to Qwest's continuing obligations to provide unbundled access to certain elements pursuant to section 271 of the Act and South Dakota law." Pursuant to ARSD 20:10:32:30, Qwest may respond to this "petition for arbitration and provide additional information within 25 days after the commission receives the petition."

TODAY, how shall the Commission Proceed?


1. The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held May 24, 2005, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 412, at Pierre, South Dakota.

2. Commission meetings are scheduled for June 14 and 28, 2005.

3. The PUC office will be closed May 30, 2005, in observance of Memorial Day.

4. Commissioners and staff will be attending the Mid-America Regulatory Conference June 18 - 22, 2005, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Heather K. Forney
Deputy Executive Director
May 4, 2005