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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Tuesday, December 20, 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 December 19, 2005. The lines are limited and are given out on first come/first serve basis. Ultimately, if you wish to participate in the Commission Meeting and a line is not available you may have to appear in person.
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AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING
1. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on November 1, 2005, and Ad Hoc Commission Meeting Held on November 23, 2005. (Staff: Tina Douglas.)
1. Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
1. CT05-004 In the Matter of the Complaint filed by Eldon Lindquist on behalf of Pierre Radio Paging & Telephone, Pierre, South Dakota, against Venture Communications Cooperative, Inc. f/k/a Sully Buttes Telephone Cooperative, Inc. Regarding a Billing Dispute. (Staff Analysts: Keith Senger/Jim Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)
On April 14, 2005, Eldon Lindquist, representing Pierre Radio Paging & Telephone, filed a formal complaint against Venture Communications Cooperative, Inc. f/k/a Sully Buttes Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Venture). Complainant claims that he has been seeking reimbursement for payments that according to an FCC decision were unlawfully collected from his company by the respondent. Complainant seeks to have the Public Utilities Commission help him resolve this matter by determining if the respondent made reasonable attempts to resolve this matter and reviewing the overcharges and helping to determine a fair settlement. On May 4, 2005, Venture filed a Motion to Dismiss or Alternatively Motion to Strike. At its regular meeting on July 28, 2005, the Commission heard oral argument from the parties and their counsel on Venture's motion and deferred action. On December 12, 2005, the parties filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss the Complaint and Close the Docket.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant the Motion to Dismiss the Complaint with Prejudice and Close the Docket?
1. EL04-016 In the Matter of the Filing by Superior Renewable Energy LLC et al. against Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Regarding the Java Wind Project. (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle and Keith Senger, Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Sara Greff)
On May 12, 2004, Superior Renewable Energy LLC (Superior) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Java LLC, filed a complaint requesting the Commission to settle a dispute regarding the long term purchase price of electricity generated from a Qualified Facility pursuant to the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978. The Commission granted intervention to MDU on June 8, 2004. The Commission granted intervention to MidAmerican, NorthWestern, and Black Hills at its June 22, 2004, meeting. The Commission granted intervention to Xcel on August 17, 2004. By its Second Amended Order for and Notice of Procedural Schedule and Hearing dated January 5, 2005, the hearing in this matter was scheduled to begin on March 21, 2005. On March 21, 2005, the Commission issued an order continuing the hearing until the further notice from the Commission. The parties subsequently notified the Commission that they had failed to reach a settlement and requested the hearing be rescheduled. The Commission noticed the hearing for August 2, 2005. On July 21, 2005, Superior filed a Motion for Continuance, which the Commission granted on July 28, 2005. On August 18, 2005, the Commission issued a Second Order for and Notice of Hearing Following Continuance, setting the matter for hearing on November 2, 2005. On September 16, 2005, MDU filed a Deferral Motion requesting a continuance of the matter until FERC has released its decision in Alliant Energy Corporate Services, Inc. On September 27, 2005, Superior filed a Response to Deferral Motion and Request for Affirmative Relief requesting that the Commission deny MDU's Deferral Motion and grant affirmative relief in the form of an order finding that MDU has an existing obligation and/or contract pending approval under PURPA and thus is subject to PURPA's mandatory purchase obligation and an order to show cause why MDU is not in violation of its PURPA obligations. On October 3, 2005, Staff filed a Response to MDU's Deferral Motion and MDU filed a Reply to Superior's Comments on the Deferral Motion and Request for Affirmative Relief. Superior filed a Motion for Reconsideration on October 7, 2005. On October 12, 2005, MDU filed a Reply to the Superior Motion for Reconsideration. At its November 1, 2005, meeting, the Commission voted unanimously to grant the Motion for Reconsideration, to schedule the matter for hearing on December 13-16, 2005, to direct the parties to confer immediately following issuance of this Order to resolve any pre-hearing scheduling issues, to deny, without prejudice, Superior's request for an order finding that MDU has an "existing" obligation under PURPA and to deny Superior's request for an order to show cause. On November 22, 2005, MDU filed a Motion to Dismiss and to redefine issues set forth in the Commission's Notice of Investigation dated October 26, 2004; Motion in Limine to Limit Introduction of certain prefiled testimony and exhibits; and a Motion for Summary Judgment dismissing the complaint. Superior and MDU have advised the Commission that they have reached agreement and have executed a power purchase agreement.
TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?
2. EL05-026 In the Matter of the Application of Otter Tail Power Company for Approval to Amend its Controlled Service-Interruptible Load Tariff. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Application by Otter Tail Power Company for approval of revisions to its Controlled Service - Interruptible Load Tariff which would close rate code 180 to new customers effective no later than January 1, 2006. The Controlled Service - Interruptible Load Tariff is available to residential and commercial customers primarily for the electric portion of a dual fueled heating system. Rate Code 180, initially approved in 1983, provides for an installation credit or reduced rate, for three years after service commencement in order to encourage customers to install a dual fuel system. Because of recent price increases in alternative fuels, Otter Tail believes the credit is no longer needed as an incentive for customers to install duel fuel systems with controlled electric service. Customers currently being served on Rate Code 180 would be grandfathered in and continue to receive the credit for the three year period from service commencement.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Amendments to the Controlled Service-Interruptible Load Tariff?
3. EL05-028 In the Matter of the Application of Xcel Energy for a Facilities Permit to Build 9.65 Miles of the Buffalo Ridge to Brookings County 115 kV Transmission Line, Two 0.4 Mile Brookings County to White 345 kV Transmission Lines, the Brookings County Substation and to Add Facilities to the White Substation. (Staff Analyst: Martin Bettmann/Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On December 2, 2005, Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota Corporation d/b/a Xcel Energy, submitted an application for a Construction Permit to build the following facilities: 1. Two new 0.4 mile 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines connecting the Western Area Power Administration White Substation located southeast of White, South Dakota, and a new Xcel Energy Brookings County Substation; 2. A new 345 kV/115kV Brookings County Substation located approximately 0.4 miles east of the White Substation; 3. A new 9.65 mile 115 kV transmission line from the Brookings County Substation to the Minnesota/South Dakota border; and 4. Improvements to the White Substation to accommodate the new 345 kV lines. The application comprises the western portion of the Buffalo Ridge - White transmission project which connects the White Substation to the Buffalo Ridge Substation southeast of Lake Benton, Minnesota.
TODAY, shall the Commission assess a filing fee not to exceed $47,600 with an initial deposit of $8,000.00?
1. NG05-016 In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. a Division of MDU Resources Group, Inc. for Approval of Natural Gas Conservation Programs and Conservation Tracking Adjustment. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson/Steve Wegman, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)
Application of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for approval of natural gas conservation programs, including Conservation Starter Kits, On-Line Energy Audits, and certain rebates and incentives for customers purchasing certain high efficiency appliances and devices. The application also requests approval of a cost recovery mechanism designed to recover both program costs and lost distribution revenues resulting from lower consumption due to program implementation.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Natural Gas Conservation Program and Conservation Tracking Adjustment?
1. TC05-108 In the Matter of the Application of BellSouth Long Distance, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Bob Knadle. Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)
On July 20, 2005, BellSouth Long Distance, Inc. filed an application for a Certificate of Authority to provide local exchange telecommunications service in South Dakota. The applicant proposes to offer local exchange service by utilizing a combination of unbundled network elements and resold services obtained from other local exchange carriers. BellSouth will offer service through interconnections and commercial agreements utilizing the facilities of Qwest Corporation.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant the Certificate of Authority to Bell South Long Distance, Inc.?
2. TC05-185 In the Matter of the Filing by Midcontinent Communications for Approval of its Intrastate Switched Access Tariff and for an Extension of an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates. (Staff Analyst: Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)
On October 24, 2005, Midcontinent Communications (Midcontinent) filed a request for approval of revised switched access rates and an additional extension of its exemption from the requirement to develop intrastate switched access rates based on company specific costs. Midcontinent intends to mirror the switched access rates of Qwest.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Intrastate Switched Access Tariff and Extension of an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates?
3. TC05-186 In the Matter of the Filing by Metropolitan Telecommunications of South Dakota, Inc. for Approval of its Intrastate Switched Access Tariff and for an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates. (Staff Analyst: Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Sara Greff)
On October 26, 2005, Metropolitan Telecommunications of South Dakota, Inc. (Metropolitan) submitted a petition for exemption from developing company-specific cost-based switched access rates and for approval of its switched access services tariff. Metropolitan Telecommunications, Inc. is requesting approval to mirror the Qwest Corporation tariffed access rates; they want exemption from the calculation and billing collection costs as set forth in ARSD 20:10:27:13; and they also want a waiver from filing cost data in support of its switched access service tariff no less than once every three years.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Intrastate Switched Access Tariff and Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates?
4. In the Matter of the Approval of Amendments to Agreements in Dockets TC05-190 and TC05-191
On November 14, 2005, the Commission received a filing for approval of a Triennial Review Order and Triennial Review Remand Order Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation and FiberComm, L.C., an Iowa Limited Liability Company, Inc. According to the parties, this Amendment deletes certain UNEs or changes or adds terms and conditions for certain UNEs.
On November 14, 2005, the Commission received a filing for approval of a Triennial Review Order and Triennial Review Remand Order Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation and Trinsic Communications, Inc. According to the parties, this Amendment deletes certain UNEs or changes or adds terms and conditions for certain UNEs.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Amendments to the Agreements?
On November 17, 2005, Qwest Corporation (Qwest) filed changes to its Access Service Tariff "to revise charges associated with changing a primary interexchange carrier, consistent with the FCC's Order in CC Docket No. 02-53, In The Matter of Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charges. Effective with this filing, when a customer chooses to change their long distance carrier and the change is processed manually, a charge of $5.50 will apply. If the change is processed electronically, a $1.25 charge will apply. If simultaneous interLATA and intraLATA changes are requested, a charge of $2.75 will apply for manual changes; $[0.62] will apply if the changes are made electronically." The present charge is $5.00. Qwest is requesting "an effective date of December 31, 2005, for these proposed revisions."
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Revisions to the Access Service Tariff?
The following Petitioners, Kennebec Telephone Company, Santel Communications Cooperative, Sioux Valley Telephone Company, Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (and Vivian Telephone Company and Kadoka Telephone Company), Armour Independent Telephone Company (and Bridgewater-Canistota Independent Telephone Company and Union Telephone Company), Swiftel Communications, Beresford Municipal Telephone Company, McCook Cooperative Telephone Company, Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc., Faith Municipal Telephone Company, Midstate Communications, Inc., Western Telephone Company, Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc., Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. and Splitrock Properties, Inc., Roberts County Telephone Cooperative Association and RC Communications, Inc., Venture Communications Cooperative, West River Cooperative Telephone Company, Stockholm-Strandburg Telephone Company, and Tri-County Telcom, Inc., request that the Commission extend the suspension of intramodal and intermodal Local Number Portability (LNP) for each Petitioner until six months after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) completes its final regulatory flexibility analysis and publishes it in accordance with 5 U.S.C. Section 604(b). Petitioners further request that, should they wish to continue the suspension beyond the six month period, the Commission extend the time for filing such a petition for suspension until three months after the FCC completes its final regulatory flexibility analysis and publishes it in accordance with 5 U.S.C. Section 604(b). On August 15, 2005, the South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA) filed a Petition for Intervention. Midcontinent Communications (Midcontinent) filed a Petition to Intervene on August 18, 2005. WWC License LLC d/b/a CellularOne (WWC) filed a Petition to Intervene on August 25, 2005. On October 25, 2005, the Petitioners filed a Motion to Limit the Scope of Issues. The hearing was held as scheduled on this matter on December 6-7, 2005. At the hearing, oral argument was scheduled for the Commission meeting on December 20, 2005.
TODAY, shall the Commission rule on the Joint Petition, or how shall the Commission proceed?"
7. In the Matter of the Failure of QX Telecom LLC to Maintain a Bond (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On October 18, 2001, QX Telecom LLC (QX) filed for a Certificate of Authority to provide interexchange telecommunication services in South Dakota. The Commission granted a Certificate of Authority to QX Telecom LLC at its March 28, 2002, meeting with the stipulation that QX maintain a bond. On September 30, 2005, the Commission was notified that the bond would be cancelled effective October 24, 2005. QX has failed to provide a replacement bond.
TODAY, shall the Commission issue an Order To Show Cause as to Why the Commission should not Fine, or Suspend or Revoke the Certificate of Authority of QX Telecom LLC for Failure to Maintain a Bond?
1. Election of a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Commission. (General Counsel: John Smith.)
South Dakota Codified Law 49-1-8 states in part that, "The members of the Commission shall elect a chairperson by majority vote and prescribe his duties." Traditionally, the three Commissioners have elected a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson every two years. SDCL 49-1-12 requires that, "Every vote and official action of the Public Utilities Commission shall be entered of record and its proceedings shall be public upon the request of either party or any person interested." Accordingly, the determination of the Commission's leadership structure shall be made at this public meeting.
TODAY, how shall the Commission provide for its executive leadership?
1. The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held January 17, 2006, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 468, at Pierre, South Dakota.
2. Commission meetings are scheduled for January 31 and February 14, 2006.
3. A public meeting will be held in docket EL05-028 on Wednesday, December 21, 2005, at the McKnight Center in White, South Dakota, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
4. The PUC offices will be closed Monday, December 26, 2005, in observance of Christmas.
5. The PUC offices will be closed Monday, January 2, 2006, in observance of New Years.
6. A hearing in docket CT05-001 will be held January 18 – 19, 2006, in Conference Room 3, Kneip Building, Pierre. The hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 18, 2006.
Heather K. Forney
Deputy Executive Director
December 14, 2005